Hong Kong's AIA Healthy Living Index ranking drops to last place in Asia Pacific

9 May 2016

67% of HK adults want to lose weight, on average, a substantive 6.9 kilos - a challenge given not enough exercise, not enough sleep, spending too much online and other unhealthy habits.

Hong Kong scores a disappointing 57 points out of a possible 100 in the 2016 Healthy Living Index, the third wave of AIA's landmark survey of over 10,000 adults per wave across 15 markets in Asia Pacific. With some markets showing improvements in their Healthy Living Index scores, Hong Kong is now last (15th) in the Index rankings – a further decline from its 13th rank in 2013.
Mr Jacky Chan, Chief Executive Officer of AIA Hong Kong and Macau said, “These results for Hong Kong are disappointing – and it is important to know why. As a company committed to helping people lead longer, healthier and better lives, understanding how adults feel and behave is a vital first step to identify ways we can help. This is why we launched our landmark Healthy Living Index in 2011 to not only know how adults feel at a given point in time but also to see trends over time.”
Hong Kong adults are not really satisfied with their health
AIA Healthy Living Index is a composite measure taking into account individual's satisfaction with their own health as well as their various behaviours. According to the survey results, Hong Kong adults perform poorly on both fronts.
Hong Kong adults only gave themselves only a 6.4 out of 10 satisfaction rating and 74% feel their health is not as good as it was five years ago. They recognise that healthy living is multi-faceted, including both physical elements – getting sufficient sleep, exercising regularly, eating healthily – as well as mental aspects such as maintaining a positive mindset and knowing how to reduce stress. The self-assessment by respondents on these five key drivers of healthy living are not positive and survey participants know they are falling short on these vital health drivers.
Hong Kong adults the most sleep deprived in the region
Getting sufficient sleep is the most important driver of health, according to adults in Hong Kong as well as their counterparts across the region. While Hong Kong adults would ideally like to get 8 hours of sleep a night, in reality they only sleep 6.5 hours on average. This sleep deficit of 1.5 hours is the highest amongst the 15 markets surveyed.
2 in 3 adults want to lose weight, on average, a significant 6.9 kilos -- a challenge given not enough exercise, not enough sleep, spending too much online and other unhealthy habits.

69% of Hong Kong adults say they exercise regularly, but exercise on average only 2.7 hours a week, lower than the regional average of 3 hours and well below the 30 minutes a day recommended by Hong Kong Department of Health.

Their attempts to eat healthier are still mainly restricted to the basics of drinking more water and eating more fruits and vegetables. Misperceptions abound with regard to healthy foods – that they are more expensive (80%), are harder to prepare (72%) and also take longer (71%) to prepare and don't taste very good (76%) – findings which indicate that Hong Kong adults could use education on healthy eating and help with healthy recipes.

With insufficient exercise and poor eating habits, it is not surprising that 43% of Hong Kong adults are pre-obese or obese based on the BMI (Body Mass Index) scale. Even 62% of those with normal BMI would like to lose weight, probably driven in part by advertising in Hong Kong promoting weight loss.
Unhealthy behaviours endemic among Hong Kong's children
3 in 4 Hong Kong parents say their children don't get enough exercise (74%) nor sleep (73%). Too much homework and commuting time are seen as the main culprits, along with too much time spent playing video games or online. Further, 21% of parents want their children to lose weight, on average a very significant 4.4 kilos each!

Unless there is a concerted effort by parents and schools to promote exercise and restrict screen time, there will be significant challenges to the younger generation's health.
Internet addiction remains a modern day threat to healthy living
Hong Kong is one of the most connected markets in the world with high ownership of smartphones and other electronic devices. On average, adults in HK spend 3.7 hours a day on the internet for non-work purposes, in contrast to the 2.7 hours a week spent exercising. Adults in Hong Kong are aware such internet addiction has negative impact on their health: bad for their posture (74%), less time for exercise (69%) and less time for sleep (71%) and contributing also to unhealthy eating habits such as eating while distracted. Despite such awareness, change would be difficult with 64% of Hong Kong adults admitting to being addicted to spending time online – much higher than regional average of 57%.
Hong Kong lowest number to have check-up
Given the famously intense pace of life and long working hours in Hong Kong, stress levels are generally worse than the regional average (6.7 vs. 6.2). The main sources of stress are work pressures (77%), financial worries (75%), managing family needs (72%) and concerns about health (68%). The main health concerns are heart disease (74%), cancer (74%), diabetes (73%) and having a stroke (73%). A significant number of adults admit to having concerns about mental well-being such as Alzheimer's/senility (71%), anxiety (64%) and depression (63%). Despite their many health concerns, only 29% say they had a medical check-up in the past year, the lowest of the 15 markets and a significant decrease from previous years (37% in 2013). The survey results indicate that employers should help their employees get health check-ups, including giving them sufficient time off to do so.
High self-awareness on the need to do more, but Hong Kong people welcome help to do more
Hong Kong adults are forthright in admitting that they can definitely do more to improve their health (85%). While only 8% have taken major steps towards to improve their health, encouragingly, 69% say that they have taken some small steps in that direction.

What would motivate them and reinforce healthy behaviours? According to Hong Kong adults, seeing tangible results – feeling better physically (83%) and mentally (77%) and looking better (80%) -- would encourage them to do more. They also say that helping them change one step at a time (79%) by setting smaller, more achievable goals (77%), providing updates on progress (77%) and rewards for achieving goals (75%) are all important motivators.

“We believe that AIA can make a contribution to helping address this situation,” Jacky Chan added. “AIA Vitality is designed to encourage and reward adults to lead healthier lives – we can assist people in setting realistic goals, give them customised advice of what to do, help them monitor their progress and we even have rewards to motivate them to do more.  Encouraging Hong Kong adults to take steps to be healthier will also help their children – the next generation – have healthier habits. “ 
Mr. Jacky Chan, Chief Executive Officer of AIA Hong Kong and Macau reveals the key findings of the AIA Healthy Living Index Survey 2016. Hong Kong falls to last place in Asia Pacific in the AIA Healthy Living Index ranking. The “AIA Vitality” programme launched by AIA is to encourage Hong Kong people to lead healthier lives.
Mr. Jacky Chan, Chief Executive Officer of AIA Hong Kong and Macau (right) and Mr. Louis Lao, Research Manager of TNS (left) reveal the key findings of AIA Healthy Living Index survey 2016. The survey attributes Hong Kong's fall to last place in Asia Pacific in the AIA Healthy Living Index ranking to issues such as sleep deprivation, obesity, lack of exercise and internet addiction.
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AIA Healthy Living Index 
Launched in 2011, the AIA Healthy Living Index is a survey conducted to understand how people feel about their health and the extent of their health habits, as well as their concerns and hopes for a healthier way of life. Commissioned by the AIA Group and conducted by TNS, an independent, global research company, each survey involved interviews with over10,000 adults aged 18 or older (including 605 adults in Hong Kong) across 15 markets: China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Korea, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.
About AIA Hong Kong and AIA Macau
AIA Hong Kong and AIA Macau are subsidiaries of AIA Group Limited. AIA Group Limited established its operations in Hong Kong in 1931. We have approximately 12,000 financial planners*, as well as an extensive network of brokerage and bancassurance partners who serve more than 1.8 million customers*. Our products range from individual life, group life, accident, medical and health, personal lines insurance to investment-linked products with numerous investment options. We are also dedicated to providing superb product solutions to meet the financial needs of high net worth customers.
* As of February 2016
About AIA
AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries (collectively “AIA” or the “Group”) comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group. It has a presence in 18 markets in Asia-Pacific – wholly-owned branches and subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Macau, Brunei, a 97 per cent subsidiary in Sri Lanka, a 49 per cent joint venture in India and a representative office in Myanmar and Cambodia.

The business that is now AIA was first established in Shanghai almost a century ago. It is a market leader in the Asia-Pacific region (ex-Japan) based on life insurance premiums and holds leading positions across the majority of its markets. It had total assets of US$168 billion as of 30 November 2015. 

AIA meets the long-term savings and protection needs of individuals by offering a range of products and services including life insurance, accident and health insurance and savings plans. The Group also provides employee benefits, credit life and pension services to corporate clients. Through an extensive network of agents, partners and employees across Asia-Pacific, AIA serves the holders of more than 29 million individual policies and over 16 million participating members of group insurance schemes.

AIA Group Limited is listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited under the stock code “1299” with American Depositary Receipts (Level 1) traded on the over-the-counter market (ticker symbol: “AAGIY”).
AIA Group
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AIA Hong Kong
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Jovis Chong +852 2881 4492