Research Projects
Exercise for Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome in Children and Young Adults

Programme(s) to which this project applies:

☒ MPhil/PhD ☑ MRes[Med] ☒ URIS

Objective and Significance:

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) comprises short bursts of high-intensity exercise interposed with recovery periods. Recently, the adoption of HIIT to improve health has become an attractive topic because high-intensity simply equates to less time needed to achieve a fixed amount of energy expenditure. This makes HIIT a more time-efficient exercise strategy, which could mitigate the “lack of time” barrier and thus improve adherence. The project aims to examine the efficacy of HIIT on improving body adiposity and metabolic syndrome in inactive children and young adults. The project aims to also evaluate the safety of the adoption of HIIT in the inactive unfit children and young adults. This project will provide evidence for the benefits and safety of HIIT.

Research Plan and Methodology:

Two-arm randomized controlled trial with a pretest-posttest design will be adopted. Young adults or children with obesity or metabolic syndrome will be randomly allocated to HIIT intervention group or usual care group. The HIIT group will receive 12 weeks of intervention of HIIT, whereas the usual care group will receive obesity/metabolic syndrome-related health education. Outcome measures including body adiposity (measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), liver fat (measured by 1H-magnetic resonance spectroscopy), visceral fat (measured by magnetic resonance imaging), body anthropometry (body mass index and waist circumference), cardiovascular disease risk factors, blood chemistry, exercise adherence, psychological measures, quality of life, mental health, medication usage (if any), adverse events, and habitual physical activity and diet will be examined before and after the experimental period.

Dr PMF Siu, School of Public Health

Associate Professor
Head, Division of Kinesiology
School of Public Health, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong


For more information or to express interest for this project, please email the supervisor or the specified contact point in the project description.  Interested candidates are advised to enclose with your email:

  1. your CV,
  2. a brief description of your research interest and experience, and
  3. two reference letters (not required for HKUMed UG students seeking MRes[Med]/URIS projects).

Information on the research programme, funding support and admission documentations could be referenced online at the Research Postgraduate Admissions website. General admission enquiries should be directed to

HKUMed MBBS students interested in the Master of Research in Medicine (MRes[Med]) programme may visit the programme website for more information.  

HKUMed UG students interested in the Undergraduate Research Internship Scheme (URIS) may visit the scheme’s website for more information.