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For Immediate Release

Watsons Pharmacy Self Care Announces Huge Free Health Testing
Programme for Women

"10,000 free Cholesterol Tests is just the start"

Watsons Health Screening Gains Critical Insights:
"Over 33% of Women within a Normal Weight Band Still Face a Health Risk"

Hong Kong, 25 September 2003: Watsons Your Personal Store, the largest health and beauty retail chain in Asia, today announced the beginning of a huge investment programme in providing free health tests for women in Hong Kong.

The Watsons Pharmacy Self Care "Women's Journey of Health" programme begins today with the provision of 10,000 free cholesterol tests for women who visit any of Watsons 37 Pharmacy stores.

Watsons conducted a study of women's health in Hong Kong during July and August 2003. It aimed at reviewing Hong Kong women's health condition and to find out the health risks they are facing. The study assessed women for their body mass index by measuring weight and height, body fat percentage and coronary heart disease risk factors, including total cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

"Our study shows worrying risk levels in a number of health areas for women in Hong Kong" said Margaret Lau, Watsons Pharmacist Director. "Our numbers indicate that over 33% of women had potential health risk, even though their weight status was normal. Since Hong Kong women are living with the risk of developing serious health problems, we want to help them to do something about it."

The study covered 905 women was conducted by Watsons pharmacists and endorsed by the School of Pharmacy of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, found 253 respondents had an ideal body mass index, i.e. 18.5 < BMI < 23, of which 34% had a high percentage of body fat, 33% had high total cholesterol and 44% had high-normal to high blood pressure levels - placing them at serious risk of heart disease as they age.

The screening also revealed that in the same group, 48% of women aged 50 - 59 and 36% of women aged 40 - 49 had high total cholesterol. In the relatively young age group (30 - 39), this figure was 17%. It showed that women are likely to have high total cholesterol as they age especially when menopause starts in the 40 - 55 age group. This survey correlates with other local findings that women had plasma cholesterol with a sharp rise after menopause. i

Coinciding with this report, Watsons launched its "Women's Journey of Health" initiative today to provide a programme of free health tests, consultancy and personalized advice at Watsons 37 Pharmacy stores over the next two months. The first such initiative is the provision of 10,000 free cholesterol tests for Hong Kong's women.

"High cholesterol, hypertension and being overweight are strongly linked to heart disease," said Ms. Lau. "Our study indicates 33% of women with a normal body mass index have high cholesterol levels - and in many cases this will lead to serious heart problems later in life. Early testing can identify these issues so they can be addressed now - and that's exactly what our "Women's Journey of Health" programme is setting out to do."

"Our announcement today is just the start," said Ms. Lau. "In the weeks ahead will make further announcements on initiatives our "Women's Journey of Health" programme is taking to make a lasting difference to the health of the women of Hong Kong."

About Watsons Pharmacy Self Care 'Women's Journey of Health' campaign

The 'Women's Journey of Health' campaign is the 8th in a series of Watsons Pharmacy Self Care programmes since the programme was launched in March 2002. The campaign covers all of Watsons' 142 stores throughout Hong Kong. Professional pharmacist advice will be available at the 37 Watsons pharmacy counters. It provides neighourhood healthcare consultant service to help women live healthier lives. The campaign offerings are:

1. Fact cards featuring common women's health issues including Nutrition & Health, Healthy Skin, Weight Management, Physical Fitness, Menstrual Disorders & Pregnancy, Menopause, Osteoporosis and Breast Cancer.

2. Ten thousand free cholesterol tests

3. Health screening tests for women including body fat, body mass index, high blood pressure, bone mass density.

4. Health checks and programmes at discounted rate provided by The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

5. Pharmacist consultation by specially trained pharmacists will be available to identify women's health risk and provide professional advice as well as practical tips.

6. Ask Your Watsons Pharmacist activities will be touring at selected Watsons stores to offer free pharmacist consultation and health assessments.

7. Your Watsons Pharmacist Hotline 3169 3333 will be dedicated to provide professional advice on women's health further to general health and drugs counseling. It operates on Monday to Friday, from 10:00am to 7:00pm and on Saturday from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

Watsons Pharmacy Self Care "Women's Journey of Health" campaign is supported by the School of Pharmacy, the Centre for Nutritional Studies, the Centre of Research and Promotion of Women's Health and the Jockey Club Centre for Osteoporosis Care and Control, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Roche Diagnostics Company Limited has also been an invaluable partner by donating the 10,000 cholesterol tests and blood glucose tests.

About Watsons

Established in 1828, Watsons is the largest personal care retail chain in Asia operating close to 700 stores in 8 markets, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, Macau, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and the Philippines. Building on its long-standing reputation for quality and innovation, plus a high degree of consumer confidence, Watsons caters to a variety of lifestyles with an unrivalled diversity of products.

In Hong Kong, Watsons has won a number of customer service awards and operates 142 stores with over 1,600 employees. As a leading chain in town, 37 of its Watsons stores have pharmacy counters.


Released on behalf of Watsons by Fleishman-Hillard Hong Kong Limited and Professional Public Relations Asia Limited. For further information, please contact:

Fleishman-Hillard Hong Kong LimitedProfessional Public Relations Asia Limited
Florence YuMonika Yeung
Tel: 2111 3556Tel: 3111 9964
Fax: 2845 0363Fax: 2866 1882
Email: yuf@fleishman.comEmail:

i A comprehensive study {Janus 1997 169 /id} of cardiovascular risk factors in Hong Kong was conducted from 1994 to 1996 showed that 41% of women had plasma cholesterol of 200mg/dL or higher. 10% of women had plasma triglycerides of 176mg/dL or higher, both of them with a sharp rise after menopause.