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Filipinos prioritize health but avoid physical activity – Sun Life survey


By Chino S. Leyco

Majority of Filipinos wanted to become healthy but lazy to engage in regular physical activities, a recent survey commissioned by insurance-firm Sun Life Financial showed.

Riza Mantaring

Riza Mantaring

Instead, the study revealed that Filipinos prefer to talk more than have a simple walk around.

According to Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index, six out of 10 Filipinos are not engaging in any regular physical activity. But despite this, they are still optimistic when it comes to their health.

The Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia are tied in topping the list of countries in Asia where people don’t exercise regularly.

In these three countries, about 61 percent of the population avoid regular physical activity.

The reasons? Well, more than half of Filipinos or 57 percent blamed it on their lack of time due to work, while 47 percent cited lack of personal motivation and “distractions of modern life.”

Other key barriers to living a healthy life were cost (45 percent) and the lack of accessible venues to engage in sports and recreation (36 percent).

The research is based on the findings of an Ipsos survey conducted in August last year, with a sample size of around 4,000 Asians from 25 to 60 years of age.

The Sun Life survey covered respondents from the middle class in Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

But despite being mostly inactive, Filipinos are very positive about the state of their health, with the Philippines scoring the highest of all markets surveyed on the overall Health Index, garnering a score of 89.

Respondents from the Philippines were the most positive in Asia about their emotional health, wherein most Filipinos claim their emotional health is good or extremely good.

Likewise, Filipinos were the second most positive, just behind Indonesia, when it comes to physical health.

“With all the things that demand our time and attention, it’s usually our health that suffers because it’s relegated to the least of our priorities,” Riza Mantaring, Sun Life President and chief executive, said.

“This is why we at Sun Life have been boosting our suite of wellness products and mounting events that would help Filipinos to pursue their health goals,” she added.

Sun Life recently launched SUN Fit and Well, a new generation wellness product that offers comprehensive life and health protection from childhood all the way to the age of 100.

It covers needs from prevention, to diagnosis, to treatment, to rehabilitation.

“Sun Life remains committed to helping Filipinos face a brighter tomorrow by being in the best of health,” Mantaring said.

“The results of the Asia Health Index reiterate the need to promote a healthier lifestyle, and Sun Life wants to be the Filipinos’ partner in pursuing this journey,” she added.

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