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Prudential study: Hongkongers' health state in the lowest in Asia

Prudential study: Hongkongers' health state in the lowest in Asia

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Many Hongkongers thought that technology could offer them better access to health services, but didn't feel that they themselves were living in a healthy state, according to research from Prudential.

Prudential has recently released The Pulse of Asia – The Health of Asia Barometer, a report written by The Economist Intelligence Unit that explores attitudes across Asian markets including Hong Kong, highlighting the demand for tools and services to help people in the region better navigate the healthcare system as well as opportunities for governments to partner with the private sector to maximise the potential of digital healthcare.

The average score of overall health state rated by Hong Kong respondents was 69.8 (out of 100), the lowest among its counterparts in Asia, while Taiwan had an average score of 70.7 and Singapore had 74.3, ranking second and third lowest in Asia respectively.

When asked whether their lifestyle and emotional wellbeing had changed during the past 12 months, only 25% of the respondents thought that it had improved; while 32% expected to be healthier in three years from now.

However, the majority of respondents (78%) had taken measures to improve their personal health and wellness based on information or advice obtained, including changing diets or increasing the amount of exercise. For respondents who had not taken any measures, one of the most common reasons was that they did not need to take such action (40%), followed by the lack of time (18%).

The report has also highlighted areas of wellness that were most impacted by the pandemic among Hong Kong respondents. For example, mental and emotional wellbeing such as stress levels, anxiety, depression were the top area (39%), followed by the amount or frequency of physical exercise (33%) and the quality of sleep (28%).

Digital health technology also played a role in helping Hong Kong citizens manage their health and wellbeing. The majority of respondents (62%) said they were using a personal health technology device, with the most popular being the smart watch (25%).

Most of Hong Kong respondents (81%) also agreed or strongly agreed that technology had provided them with better access to health services compared to five years ago. 

Regionally, 54% of the surveyed 5,000 adults across 13 markets said medical care was accessible and affordable.

To fulfill the potential of digital healthcare, the report suggested that governments could partner with private companies to deliver digitally innovative ways to promote and manage health and wellness among citizens. As respondents of this survey overwhelmingly agreed that the most trustworthy sources were national governments and public health authorities, governments can seize the opportunity by becoming the most reliable source of quality health information for citizens.

Lastly, it also recommended that governments look to promote connected health devices, but that these need to be underpinned by strict data governance.

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