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NZers Underperforming in Key Healthy Living Indicators

Press Release – AIA NZ

A comprehensive independent survey of people in 15 Asia Pacific nations has found that across the region, people score an average of 61 out of a possible 100 in health living indicators. And despite our ‘food basket’ status and patina of outdoorsiness, …
New Zealanders Underperforming in Key Healthy Living Indicators,
New AIA Regional Survey Finds
Auckland, December 2011 – A comprehensive independent survey of people in 15 Asia Pacific nations has found that across the region, people score an average of 61 out of a possible 100 in health living indicators. And despite our ‘food basket’ status and patina of outdoorsiness, New Zealanders score below average, at just 58 out of 100.

The Healthy Living Index Survey was conducted by life insurance group AIA, which has been represented in this country since 1981 by AIA New Zealand. In the canvassing of both emerging and developed markets, Indonesia and Korea placed at the bottom of the list (on 55) and Macau and Brunei at the top, with 70 and 72 respectively.

Closest to New Zealand in the rankings were Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore (all scoring 57) and Australia and Taiwan, both on 59. In general, people in established, developed markets fared worse and were found to be less satisfied with their health, more sleep-deprived, less likely to exercise regularly and to feel more need to lose weight.

The index is derived from the combination of satisfaction with own health + extent of healthy behaviours (across the board, respondents’ satisfaction rated higher than the healthiness of behaviours, with the greatest disparity seen among Indonesians, Indians and Filipinos, and the closest match of satisfaction with behaviours seen for China and Brunei. New Zealand ranked in the mid-range, with nearly identical results to Australia and Taiwan).

For the AIA survey, more than 10,200 interviews were conducted by global research firm TNS. The subjects were questioned about their views on their own health and degree of satisfaction, their health behaviours, and their motivations and drivers for healthy living, as well as health-related concerns. Other key findings:

• About 7 in 10 of overall respondents said their health is not as good as five years ago – 56% of New Zealanders said this;
• Better quality of life and better mental health are the key motivators for New Zealanders to live a healthy life;
• The key health-related concerns for New Zealanders are ‘not exercising enough’ and ‘weight is too high’ (in both categories, NZers scored 9% higher than the regional average), along with ‘too much snacking’ (5% higher than region), ‘too much alcohol’ and ‘feeling depressed’ (both 2% higher), and ‘smoking too much’ and ‘not getting enough sleep’ (1% higher);
• New Zealanders are the least concerned about food safety of any nation in the region;
• New Zealand is in the mid-range in the region in terms of exercise, with 50% of Kiwis saying they do not exercise regularly against a regional average of 49%;
• One-third of NZers exercise less than an hour per week.

There were also some important signals to employers. “What’s particularly interesting to us as a company was what employees told the researchers about work environments,” AIA New Zealand CEO Wayne Besant says. “When asked whether companies could do more to help staff lead healthier lives, 76% of Kiwi respondents said yes, and added that offering healthy food options in the office and providing flu vaccinations were the two best ways companies could help.”

Australians said the same, while:

• Koreans, Taiwanese and those in Hong Kong highlighted ‘less overtime/less stress’;
• Indonesians and Singaporeans most wanted ‘medical check-up assistance (subsidized or free)’;
• Respondents from Macau and Brunei were the most passionate about the flu jab;
• Indians, Vietnamese and Brunei respondents most wanted employers to ‘make sure the workplace is clean’;
• Thais, Malaysians and those in Brunei most wanted companies to ‘organize health events for employees and families’;
• Thais were most in favour of having employers ‘encourage exercise to and from work’.

To help promote healthy living measures for staff, 13 of the AIA businesses in the region are holding a Health Living Day, with activities ranging from visiting low-income schools to distribute apples, toothbrushes and dental hygiene information (Indonesia), to charity walks (Malaysia) and bicycle rides followed by bike donations to needy children (Korea). In Australia, 430 staff were involved in an October Holistic Healthy Living Expo, with health assessments, one-on-one expert consultations and prizes for most improved health results.

In New Zealand, a 16 November ‘Hunt for Wellbeing’ in Takapuna saw 80 AIA New Zealand staff take part in a team competition. The scavenger hunt followed an ‘Amazing Race’ theme and structure, with various physical activities around the neighbourhood to find the winning team. All proceeds were donated to Canteen, the charity supporting teenagers with cancer.


About AIA New Zealand

AIA New Zealand is the trading name of American International Assurance Company (Bermuda) Limited (AIA) in New Zealand, and a member of the AIA Group.

Since the company arrived in New Zealand in 1981, AIA New Zealand has consistently provided the market with innovative personal and business insurance products that suit the Kiwi way of life. Today we offer a complete range of risk management products that focus on the needs of our customers.

AIA New Zealand is based in Auckland with regional offices in Wellington, Hamilton and Christchurch. However, through our Insurance consultant network, we reach every corner of the country.

AIA New Zealand is a member of the Investment Savings and Insurance Association (ISI), the Insurance and Savings Ombudsman Scheme (ISO) and the Health Funds Association of New Zealand (HFANZ).

About the AIA Group

AIA Group Limited and its subsidiaries (collectively “the AIA Group” or “the Group”) comprise the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group in the world, with a broad footprint spanning 15 markets in Asia Pacific. The Group traces its roots in the region back more than 90 years and has total assets of US$107.9 billion.

The AIA Group meets the protection, savings and investment needs of individuals by offering a comprehensive suite of products and services covering accident and health insurance, life insurance and retirement planning. It also provides employee benefits, credit life and pension services to corporate clients. Through an extensive network of more than 260,000 agents and over 21,000 employees across Asia Pacific, AIA serves the holders of over 23 million individual policies and over 10 million participating members of group policies.

The Group has operations in Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, China, Malaysia, Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Macau, Brunei and India.

The AIA Group is a market leader in the Asia Pacific region based on life insurance premiums, and holds number one positions in six of its geographical markets. Due to its historical roots in Asia, the AIA Group has built a network of mainly wholly-owned businesses operating as branches or subsidiaries. Only in India, where legislation restricts foreign ownership of insurance companies to 26%, is the Group’s main operating unit a joint venture.

AIA Group Limited is listed on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited under the stock code ‘1299’.

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