Weather Information Acquisition and Health Significance during Extreme Cold Weather in a Subtropical City: A Cross-sectional Survey in Hong Kong
Chan EYY., Huang Z., Mark CKM., Guo C.
© 2017, The Author(s). Health and disaster risk reduction are important and necessary components in building a smart city, especially when climate change may increase the frequency of extreme temperatures and the health risks of urban dwellers. However, limited knowledge is available about the best way to disseminate weather warnings and health protection information. This study explores the weather information acquisition patterns of the Hong Kong public and examines the sociodemographic predictors of these patterns to establish the potential public health implications of smart city development. A population-based, stratified cross-sectional, random digit dialing telephone survey was conducted among the Cantonese-speaking population aged over 15 years in Hong Kong in early 2016. Analyses were conducted based on 1017 valid samples, with a response rate of 63.6%. Cold Weather Warnings were well disseminated in Hong Kong, with 95.7% of the respondents reporting awareness of the public warnings. Television and smartphone apps were the two most important channels for weather information acquisition. Age and education level are the main social-demographic variables associated with the current utilization and future preference of smartphone technology. Among those who were not using a preferred channel to acquire weather information, 61.3% considered switching to a smartphone app. Moreover, the patterns of individual health protection measures and self-reported health impacts were significantly different between smartphone app users and non-users. Weather information dissemination should be tailored to the sociodemographic characteristics of the users.