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The Philippines scores a low 61 points out of a possible 100 in the 2016 Healthy Living Index, the third wave of AIA’s landmark survey of over 10,000 adults per wave across 15 markets in Asia Pacific. With improvements in Healthy Living Index scores for some of the other markets, the Philippines slips from 6th to 9th rank amongst 15 markets.
Mr. Aibee Cantos, Philam Life Chief Executive Officer said, “The lack of improvement in the Philippines’ Healthy Living Index score is alarming and it is important to know why. As the real life company committed to addressing the real life needs of our customers, we are actively helping Filipinos attain total wellness by being not only financially prepared but also by staying active so they can live longer, healthier and better lives. ”
Understanding Filipinos’ Perception on Healthy Living
As a thought-leader in the health and wellness space, AIA has commissioned the Healthy Living Index Survey across 15 markets to understand people’s perception and behavior towards healthy living. Here are some interesting findings for the Philippines:
Adults in the Philippines say their health is not as good as five years ago
Results show that 80% of adults in the Philippines say their health is not as good as five years ago, including 69% of adults under age 30 who feel this way even though this younger age group should be at the prime of their health.
They recognise that healthy living is multi-faceted, wherein good family relationships (rated the most important), physical elements such as eating healthily and getting sufficient sleep as well as good hygiene (washing hands often) and environmental factors such as food safety were ranked as the top 5 drivers. In the Philippines, exercise was not included in the top 5 drivers of healthy living as it was in most other markets.
Their self-assessment on the physical drivers of healthy living, especially on getting sufficient sleep and exercise are not good and Filipino adults know they are falling short on these attributes.
Adults in the Philippines among the most sleep deprived in the region
Getting sufficient sleep is one the most important driver of health, according to adults in the Philippines as well as their counterparts across the region. While Filipino adults would ideally like to get 8.2 hours of sleep a night, in reality they only sleep 6.8 hours on average. This sleep deficit of 1.4 hours is one of the highest among the 15 markets.
44% of adults in the Philippines are overweight due mainly to insufficient exercise and poor food habits, but only 25% would like to lose weight.
74% of adults in the Philippines say they exercise regularly, but on average adults in the Philippines exercise only 2.1 hours a week, lower than the regional average of 3 hours and well below what most experts would recommend.
Unhealthy eating habits are common – 84% of those surveyed said they tend to eat while distracted, 81% admitted to eating unhealthy snacks between meals and 71% had their dinners close to bed time. Attempts to eat healthier are still restricted to the basics of drinking more water and eating more fruits and vegetables.
Internet addiction emerging as a modern day threat to healthy living
Though Internet adoption is still lower in the Philippines relative to some other markets in the region, Internet and smartphone use are growing rapidly and social networking is extremely popular among those who are online. Adults in the Philippines spend 1.1 hours a day on the internet for non-work purposes, much lower than the regional average of 3 hours. However, those who spend time online are aware of its negative impact on health: less time for sleep (48%), less time for exercise (46%) and bad for their posture (47%). 52% of Filipino adults even admit to being addicted to spending time online, slightly lower than the regional average of 57%.
Unhealthy behaviours could extend to the next generation if not arrested early
Currently, 30% of Filipino parents say their children don’t get enough exercise and 22% say their children do not get enough sleep. Too much time spent watching TV, playing video games or online are the main culprits.
Unless parents and schools promote exercise and restrict screen time, there will be challenges to the younger generation’s health.
High levels of concern regarding health, but only half have had a check-up in past year
There are very high levels of concerns about many health conditions, all much higher than the regional averages. The main health concerns are heart disease (96%), having a stroke (96%), diabetes (96%), respiratory illnesses (95%), being bedridden/wheelchair bound (95%) and cancer (94%). A significant number of adults admit to having concerns about mental well-being such as Alzheimer’s/senility (93%), anxiety (90%) and depression (90%). Despite their many health concerns, only 50% say they had a medical check-up in the past year, down from previous years (58% in 2011 and 54% in 2013). Employers should help their employees get health check-ups, including giving them sufficient time off to do so.
High self-awareness on the need to do more, but Filipinos welcome help to do more
Adults in the Philippines are forthright in admitting that they can definitely do more to improve their health (95%). Encouragingly, 21% say they have taken major steps towards to improve their health and 48% say that they have taken some small steps in that direction.
Motivators of healthy behaviours
According to adults in the Philippines, seeing tangible results – feeling better mentally (88%) and physically (81%) — would encourage them to do more. In line with the high importance attached to good family relationships as the most important driver of health for Filipinos, being a role model to their families (81%) is also a strong motivator and one that can be used in encouraging family-oriented healthy activities. They also say that helping them change one step at a time (87%) by setting smaller, more achievable goals (82%), providing updates on progress (80%) and getting rewards for achieving goals (78%) are all important motivators.
Providing Innovative Solutions
“While there is high awareness about the state of their health, such awareness has not yet translated into action,” said Mr. Cantos. “But the good news is, Filipinos admit they can do more to improve their health. So we offer innovative solutions to help them attain total wellness.”
Aligned with its thrust to promote healthy living, Philam Life is actively owning the health and wellness space by introducing Philam Vitality, a revolutionary, first of its kind science-backed wellness programme. This goes beyond traditional life insurance since it pushes the bar higher and gives day-to-day living benefits that rewards members for being healthy.
Philam Life also offers a wide array of innovative products to address its customers’ different needs. For health protection, there is Health Invest Plus, which provides comprehensive health benefits, including coverage for early stage critical illness as well as a health fund for future healthcare needs.
Promoting Active Lifestyle
True to its commitment to help Filipinos attain total wellness and embrace an active lifestyle, Philam Life and AIA have also partnered with sports organizations:
- AIA is the official shirt partner of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, one of the top-ranked teams in the English Premier League. The partnership provides a platform for both organizations to work together to grow brand awareness and to support co-branded initiatives such as customer and employee engagement in key markets across the Asia-Pacific.
- Philam Life is the official life insurance partner of GILAS PILIPINAS. Philam Life salutes GILAS PILIPINAS for playing smart basketball that has brought pride to Filipinos.
- Philam Life partners with Philippine Football Federation (PFF) to conduct grassroots football courses and football festivals around the country.
AIA Healthy Living Index
Launched in 2011, the AIA Healthy Living Index is a survey conducted to understand how people feel about their health and the extent of their health habits, as well as their concerns and hopes for a healthier way of life. Commissioned by the AIA Group and conducted by TNS, an independent, global research company, each survey involved interviews with over10,000 adults aged 18 or older (including 605 adults in Hong Kong) across 15 markets: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
About Philam Life
The Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company (Philam Life) is the country’s premier life insurance company. Established on 21 June 1947, Philam Life has earned the trust of customers for its financial strength, strong brand name, and ability to deliver on its promises.
AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries (collectively “AIA” or the “Group”) comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group. It has a presence in 18 markets in Asia-Pacific – wholly-owned branches and subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Macau, Brunei, a 97 per cent subsidiary in Sri Lanka, a 26 per cent joint venture in India and a representative office in Myanmar and Cambodia.