- 72% of Singaporeans feel optimistic about their overall health and well-being – but the reality is that only 68% feel this way
- 50% of young adults 18 to 24 feel personally responsible for their health, but only 41% of those 65 and above do
- Young adults aged 18 to 24 worry the most, with 78% who experience mild to severe stress
- Young adults feel most positive towards technology- 85% believes that it will help them live longer
Singapore – Against the backdrop of a growing focus on health and well-being in Singapore society, a new study was released today by Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHI), which explores the perceptions and behaviour of adult Singaporeans (age 18 and above) towards their health and well-being.
The Philips Index: Singapore’s Health & Well-being Report reveals that young Singaporeans are more concerned about their health than the ageing population – 50% of young adults aged 18 to 24 feel personally responsible for their own health, while only 41% of those aged 65 and above feel the same way. This is a key revelation in light of Singapore’s rapidly ageing population, as maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important to prevent a strain on the government’s healthcare resources.
Mr. Wong Lup Wai, Vice President and Country Manager of Philips Electronic Singapore, commented, “As a leading health and well-being company, Philips seeks to understand consumer perceptions and actions related to their health. This will enable us to continue to pioneer innovations that will help people, communities, healthcare systems, governments and future generations address critical issues related to how we live, and to have a positive meaningful impact on the health and well-being of societies.”
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The study indicated that 72% of Singaporeans said that they feel optimistic about their health and well-being – but a closer look showed that after taking into account other factors like jobs and relationships with family and friends, only 68% really felt this way. Even though actual satisfaction is lower than what they perceive, Singaporeans still feel the most optimistic about their health and well-being, ranking first in the Philips Index so far.
Singaporeans greatly value relationships with their family and friends, the health of their family members, as well as their overall physical and mental health. They are also fairly satisfied with the current state of these factors, ranging from 80 to 91%. However, the lower weighted index implies that there are some areas in which Singaporeans are not so satisfied.
Young Adults Stressed and Worried
When asked about their emotional health, 78% of young adults (18 to 24) said that they experience mild to severe stress – the highest amongst all age groups. Compared to other Singaporeans, the young are also the most worried about suffering from depression (29%), anxiety (30%) and cancer (29%). Young Singaporeans mostly feel stressed about losing their jobs, saving enough money for the future and about the economy. In addition, they are not satisfied with the amount of free time for friends and family, an aspect they regard highly.
The Young See Technology as a Good Thing
Technology plays a big part in the lives of the young, in relation to health. 25% of young adults (18 to 24) turn to the Internet as their first source of health related information as compared to 4% of those aged 65 and above. They are receptive to technology, and even utilise it in their healthcare decision-making. 85% believe that medical technology will help them to live longer, and 76% will check the Internet first if they have a particular concern about a health issue. As compared to the older generation, young adults feel more positively towards technology. They get excited when new technologies are announced and believe that the Internet and social media has made their lives better. A staggering 87% of them embrace new technologies – believing that with them, their lifestyles will improve – as opposed to 59% of the older group.
The Elderly Generally Positive About Their Health
Elderly Singaporeans generally feel positive about their health, with 82% of those aged 65 and above rating it as good or very good. This might be a possible result of the government’s efforts to promote active ageing in Singapore. However, less than half of Singaporeans aged 65 and above feel that their own health is their responsibility – which is low compared to countries like Brazil, China, US and Germany. In addition, 59% of those aged 65 and above and 63% of those aged 18 to 24 think that Singapore has enough facilities to serve its growing ageing population. This pose an interesting question on whether people are relying too much on the government to provide the facilities to serve the growing ageing population.
Financial and Economic Factors are Key Stressors
Findings from the Philips Index: Singapore’s Health & Well-being Report 2010 show that Singaporeans feel the most dissatisfied with the cost of living, the amount they earn, the amount of stress they have, the amount of vacation time, and their jobs, as compared to the other aspects in their lives – community lived in, relationship with family and friends etc. 68% are stressed about the high healthcare costs, 62% on saving enough money for the future, and 61% are worried about losing their jobs. It appears that the main factors affecting Singaporeans’ levels of satisfaction and stress are those related to financial and economic factors. Although Singapore has a high standard of living, cost of living and affordability seems to be an issue, contributing to their level of stress.
Singaporeans Fatter Than They Think?
Only 21% of Singaporeans think they are overweight – the lowest compared to other developed nations like Japan, USA and Germany. However, their perception of weight may be somewhat different from the reality. According to the National Health Survey, the percentages of overweight and obese adults aged 18 to 69 years old have increased steadily from 1992 to 2004 . In addition, a study in the Journal of Lipid Research in 2004 found that Singaporeans have higher body fat, and that in the area of cardio health, Asian Chinese have more body fat than Caucasians . There is a possible gap between Singaporeans’ perception and the reality. This is a cause for concern as obesity is a serious public health challenge which carries risk of other health problems.
About the Philips Index: Singapore’s Health & Well-being Report 2010
The Philips Index: Singapore’s Health & Well-being Report 2010 aims to understand the perception of and actions related to people’s health, to provide the government, communities, and healthcare organisations in Singapore with a collective view of the current status and needs of patients as well as care providers, to ensure considered solutions in addressing healthcare challenges. It examines the mega trends which shape a country’s healthcare, its lifestyle and who we are as a society, determining what aspects of health and well-being are most important, how satisfied people are with them, and the role that technology plays in maintaining better health and well-being.
In order to assess more specifically the state of health and well-being, Philips set 17 items like job, income as well as stress and calculated the Philips Index by multiplying the importance of each item to a person’s health and well-being and the rate of satisfaction of each of them.
The Philips Index: Singapore’s Health & Well-being Report 2010 is part of a global initiative which is being conducted in over 30 countries around the world.
1 Singapore Ministry of Health – National Health Survey: 1992; and National Health Survey: 2004
2 National University of Singapore, Research Gallery – Article: Preventing the preventable in ageing