Months before the impact of COVID-19 pandemic was felt in the Philippines, the country ranked fourth healthiest in a global health survey.
The World Health Index, a ranking of healthiest and least healthy markets across the globe from data gathered in November to December last year, put the Philippines after The Netherlands (1st), Singapore (2nd), and the United Kingdom (3rd).
Completing the list, from 5th to 10th, are Malaysia, Mainland China, Ukraine, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand.
Over 5,500 consumers aged 15-60 across 10 markets in Asia and Europe participated in the survey commissioned by the A.S. Watson Group, the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer founded in Hong Kong whose brands include Watsons.
The survey asked respondents to rate their health and share their thoughts on a wide range of health topics such as whether they smile enough.
Happiness and life priorities
The survey found a significant relationship between health and happiness, with majority or 91 percent of respondents believing that smiling and laughing have a lot of health benefits.
However, only 66 percent smile enough due to stress, which is fast becoming one of the biggest global health concerns—the top three are diet, weight control, and stress management.
Of the age groups surveyed, the youngest or the Gen Z smiles more and are happier than the more mature groups, Gen Y (millennials), Gen X, and Baby Boomers.
When it comes to ranking the importance of life aspects, Family and Health top the list, with 87 percent and 84 percent, respectively. Wealth (33 percent) and Love (32 percent) are the third and fourth priorities of respondents.
Malina Ngai, group chief operating officer of the A.S. Watson Group and chief executive of A.S. Watson Asia and Europe believes that “if the survey was being conducted two months later in February this year, I am sure this result will even be more pronounced with people putting family and health at the very top priority in life.”
Credible information matters
Meanwhile, credible information matters more than ever. When compared to the 2017 report findings, fewer people are now searching and relying on online health information, what with fake news and misinformation flooding the Internet and social media.
The 2019 survey found that consumers tend to seek health information from credible sources, with 61 percent seeing their doctors when feeling unwell and 43 percent going to stores to get over-the-counter medication. Yet only 15 percent of respondents turn to pharmacists, one of the most underrated credible sources of health information, for advice.
The A.S. Watson Group encourages people to seek help from pharmacists who are professionally trained on healthcare. Watsons Philippines, for instance, has a strong network of 1,436 pharmacists nationwide.
“More than just dispensing medicines, the pharmacists are patient advocates ensuring that the right medication is given through review, implementation of prescription, and detection of therapeutic incompatibilities,” Watsons said in a statement.
On staying healthy
Understanding the importance of healthy lifestyle, over 80 percent of the respondents believe that enough sleep, a healthy diet, and regular exercise can keep them healthy, although 40 percent admit to failing to do them.
More than half or 60 percent of those surveyed express interest in taking vitamins and dietary supplements to improve their health.
According to A.S. Watson Group, 1 billion shoppers bought health products last year, while sales for health category increased 11 percent year on year as health shoppers visited its stores more than 10 times per year.
In the Philippines, Watson’s health business is growing at 18 percent year-to-date, with vitamins experiencing a phenomenal 132 percent growth versus last year, demonstrating the proactive approach Filipino take in ensuring they stay healthy and protected especially in the time of a global health crisis.
Watsons call and deliver service ensures safe and convenient access to medicines and personal care essentials. Go to www.watsons/com.ph/call-and-delivery-list-of-stores for more details.
“While most of us are not health professional who can help patients or develop vaccines, everyone can do something about their own health, simply by smiling more and keeping an active lifestyle,” said Ngai.
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