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Most Filipinos lack exercise – study

Across Asia, the Philippines is among those with the highest percentage of citizens who don’t exercise regularly mostly due to lack of time, lack of personal motivation and “distractions” of modern life, based on the latest Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index.

The index – which was drawn from a 2016 survey on Asians’ attitude towards healthy and active living – showed that 61 percent of mid-income Filipinos don’t exercise regularly. The Philippines tied with Thailand and Malaysia in having the highest share of people from the so-called “Generation O” – typically described as “overworked, overweight and overwhelmed.”

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Generation O refers to people who feel they are unhealthy but lack time, facilities, resources or have existing disease problems that prevent them from going into healthy living.

The percentage of people who feel they lack exercise in the Philippines has increased from 59 percent in the 2015 survey, when the country also posted one of the worst results apart from Thailand’s 65 percent.

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“Health and wellness really go together and we’re going to push for both advocacy,” said Sun Life Financial Philippines president Riza Mantaring, herself a fitness buff and a long-distance runner who competes in international marathons.

Asked to identify the barriers to living a healthier life, 57 percent of Filipinos blamed it on their lack of time due to work while 47 percent admitted that it’s due to “lack of personal motivation.”

Some 47 percent also identified “distractions of modern life.” These are the people who spend a lot of time glued to their gadgets and engaging in social media than engaging in physical activities.

Other key barriers named by Filipino respondents were cost (45 percent) and the lack of accessible venues to engage in sports and recreation (36 percent).

Some 30 percent of respondents also felt they were less healthy compared to three years ago.

Across the region, the latest survey showed that health satisfaction levels across Asia dropped to a new low. Another key finding is that failure to exercise is the main driver of declining health.

But the silver lining in the survey is that in the case of Filipinos, they are still very positive about the overall state of their health. The Philippines scored the highest of among the markets surveyed on how they perceive their health situation, garnering a score of 89. Respondents from the Philippines were the most positive in Asia about their emotional health, gauging their situation as “good or “extremely good.” and was second most positive in the region (behind Indonesia) when it comes to their physical health.

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The survey had 4,000 respondents across Asia from ages 25 to 60 with middle class income. Research markets also included mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam

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 golden years. This product covers needs from prevention, to diagnosis, to treatment, and all the way to rehabilitation.

SUN Fit and Well provides access to GoWell, Sun Life’s wellness program where members can enjoy special privileges that will help them keep mind and body fit. This includes easy access to health and wellness information, fitness and wellness events, nutrition and health experts, and more.

“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.”

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TAGS: generation O, Riza Mantaring, Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index
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