Filipinos top list of Asians lacking physical exercise—Sun Life study

A bulk of the Philippine population still belongs to a special category dubbed as ‘Generation O,’ comprising of individuals who are overworked, overweight, and overwhelmed.

The Philippines tops the list of Asian countries where people do not get to engage in physical activities regularly, according to the 2016 Sun Life Financial Asia Health Index, a periodic study of health trends across the continent that the global insurer started in 2014.

About 61% of the country’s citizens lack regular exercise. It shared the top spot in the list with neighboring nations Thailand and Malaysia.

The online survey was conducted in August to September 2016 by Ipsos, a third party multinational research agency. It had 4,000 respondents aged between 25 and 60 years old tapped from mainland China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Lifestyle factors
When asked to identify the main reasons that keep them from living a healthier life, 57% of the Filipino respondents revealed that they lack time due to their busy career schedules. About 47% of the same respondents said they lack personal motivation and they easily give in to distractions of modern life.

Other barriers identified by the Filipino respondents were cost (45%) and lack of accessible venues where they can engage in sports and recreation (36%).

“There are many obstacles that Filipinos feel keep them from pursuing their health goals, if they even have any at all,” said Sun Life Philippines President and CEO Riza Mantaring.


Prevailing optimism
Moreover, the Philippines garnered a score of 89, the highest in the index compared to all other surveyed markets, in terms of citizens’ optimism about the state of their health. Filipino respondents were the most positive in Asia about their emotional health. They were the most likely in the region to say that their emotional health is “good” or “extremely good.”

When it comes to physical health, Filipinos are second among the most positive people in the region behind Indonesians.

“This is why Sun Life strives to find solutions to address Generation O problems. We like to make it easier for them to pursue their goals, improve their health, and also be prepared for any surprise that life may throw their way,” Mantaring said.

Comprehensive wellness
Thus, the company has launched a new generation wellness product called SUN Fit and Well, which offers comprehensive life and health protection coverage of policy holders, from childhood (as early as 30 days old) to 100 years of age.

“Unlike other products offering benefits only when an illness strikes, SUN Fit and Well covers prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation,” said Sun Life Health and Accident Head Lirio Torres.

The product has two components: savings and health protection. As a special investment for savings, it pays special bonus dividend that can optionally be withdrawn by the policy holder anytime. A portion of savings can be accessed when the policy owner needs funds.


Sun Life Health and Accident Head Lirio Torres, Chief Marketing Officer Mylene Lopa, President and CEO Riza Mantaring, and Health & Wealth Manager Jaymie Pizarro

Overall health protection
For health protection, SUN Fit and Well addresses a client’s health journey. For prevention, it gives policy holders exclusive access to GoWell, Sun Life’s wellness program that gives its members special privileges to help keep their mind and body fit. Those also include necessary guidance through health and wellness information, fitness and wellness events, and sessions with nutrition and health experts.

To cover diagnosis, SUN Fit and Well covers 114 diseases comprising of 64 major critical illnesses, 34 minor critical illnesses, and 16 specific cancer conditions, for all life stages.

Treatment coverage includes hospital income benefit, taking care of a significant portion of hospitalization costs. At the same time, SUN Fit and Well covers rehabilitation in two ways: home recovery (including therapy sessions) and palliative care for terminal illnesses, wherein a patient’s home will be converted into a hospital room for comfort and convenience.

Premiums and payment modes
SUN Fit and Well is available in three variants: Basic, Plus, and Advantage (the most comprehensive). Premiums can range from P30,000 to P55,000 annually and can be paid in three modes: 10 years, 15 years, and 20 years.

Ask any Sun Life financial advisor to learn more about SUN Fit and Well as well as other Sun Life Financial products.


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