24 January, 2017

Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index 2017: Sharp drop in Asians who feel healthy, except Indonesians that consistently gain a slight increase

Sharp drop in Asians who feel healthy, except Indonesians that consistently  gain a slight increase

  1. Indonesia was one of the most positive countries about the state of their health, ranking second in the Index following the Philippines.
  2. Newly published Health Index shows % satisfied with health drop to new low
  3. Failure to exercise the main driver of declining health
  4. Previously identified ‘Generation O’ group is alive and (un)well – Asians continue to lack time & motivation to improve health 
  5. Wellness apps and wearables are enablers for healthier habits 

INDONESIA, Jakarta, Jan 24, 2017 — The latest Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index shows that health satisfaction levels across Asia have dropped to a new low. Only 60% surveyed in Asia are happy with their overall health, down from 65% in 2015. Mainly 78% of respondents from Indonesia have a positive view of their overall health. This score is also roughly the same from last year’s survey, with Indonesia being one of the few markets in Asia that did not see a significant drop in how positively they see their health, but on the contrary, it consistently gain a slight increase year-on-year.

Moreover, for Asia in general, there are significant drops in the percentage of people with a positive view about physical health (down 7% pts) and mental health (down 8% pts). Echoing earlier warnings by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the findings show growing concern about modern lifestyle-related illnesses with higher proportions of Asians saying that that they lack the time and motivation to lead healthier lives.

Overall, with health satisfaction levels across Asia dropping to 60%, Hong Kong respondents were the most negative about their overall health with only 29% satisfied with their current overall health level (down from 44% last year). Indian, Indonesian and Filipino respondents are generally among the most positive about the state of their health.

Nearly a third of respondents (29%) say that they are less healthy than three years ago and cited a lack of exercise as the most frequently selected reason for the cause of the decline (36%). Over half (52%) around the region do not regularly exercise. In terms of the types of exercise they’d like to do more of, the most frequent responses were running (54%), swimming (45%) and cycling (44%). Other most frequently cited unhealthy habits include sleeping less than 6 hours per night (31%) and regularly eating unhealthy food (28%).

And what do Indonesians say about their health condition and behavioral change to improve health, compared to what were claimed three years ago? As much as 62% of Indonesians cited that they feel healthier than 3 years ago, making it the highest percentage among the respondents from other countries in Asia, and only 21% of Indonesians stated that they feel less healthy than 3 years ago, with the most often cited reason for this being ‘a lack of exercise’. Although 51% of respondents indicated that they do not regularly exercise, the types of exercise that Indonesian respondents would most like to spend more time doing were running (60%, the highest in the region), cycling (55%), and swimming (45%).

No Time, No Motivation

In 2014, the Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index identified an emerging segment of the population in Asia called ‘Generation O’ – who were overworked, overweight and overwhelmed. The latest research finds ‘Gen O’ continuing to struggle with many respondents attributing their failure to live a healthier life and a lack of personal motivation. When asked to identify the barriers to living a healthier life, respondents in Indonesia identify a lack of time due to work (44%), distractions (36%) and cost (35%) as the main barriers.

“These results illustrate the growing concern that Asians, including Indonesians, have regarding their personal health and the struggle people face in prioritizing health and wellbeing in the face of modern life” says Shierly Ge, Chief of Marketing Officer at Sun Life Financial Indonesia. “Sun Life is committed to providing insurance and investment solutions that build stronger, healthier, more financially secure communities. The latest findings reaffirm the importance and necessity of promoting healthier lives in Asia.”

Technology – an enabler?

One element of modern life that is offering hope to Asians when it comes to their health is the emergence and proliferation of wellness apps and wearables. The survey showed that 42% of Asians and 43% of Indonesians use wearables and or health-related apps, and those who use such technology tend to establish healthier habits and feel more positive about the state of their health –those who use apps are 13% pts more likely feel satisfied with their overall health than the average in their market.

Good Health in Year of Rooster

The news comes as millions of people across Asia celebrate the start of the Year of the Rooster. Those born in the Year of the Rooster are typically active and enjoy good health. “We hope that all Asians, including Indonesians, can take a lesson from those born in the Year of the Rooster when it comes to staying active and healthy” Shierly added.


About the Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index

The Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index is a periodic study of health trends in Asia that was launched in 2014. The research is based on the findings of an Ipsos survey conducted In August 2016. A sample of just under 4,000 Asians from 25 to 60 years of age and with middle class incomes was interviewed online from Mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The survey questioned respondents on their attitudes towards healthy and active living, their health concerns for the future and expectations on access to healthcare.

About Sun Life Financial

Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bermuda. As of September 30, 2016, the Sun Life Financial group of companies had total assets under management of $908 billion. For more information please visit www.sunlife.com.

Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE) and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF.

Note to Editors: All figures in Canadian dollars.

For more information:

David Ashton



Tel: (852) 3512 5063

E-mail: dashton@brunswickgroup.com