AIA Healthy Living Index Survey 2016 Findings & Discussion

Hey you can’t buy health; you earn it. There is no short cut to a healthier and fitter you. If you want that body, work it out. So how do you feel about your health lately? Is it getting better, worse or same? Well, with more and more health, nutrition and fitness awareness and activities going on nowadays, according to the AIA Healthy Living Index Survey 2016 on Malaysia’s results, surprisingly 68% Malaysian adults feel that their health has worsened over the last 5 years. Why? What went wrong and how can we improve it? Let’s take a closer look about the survey findings and find out why.

AIA Healthy Living Index Survey 2016 Findings & Discussion


After attending the recent AIA Health Perspective: A Reality Check roundtable discussion, I think we seriously need to look into our lifestyle. Are we getting enough sleep? Do we exercise regularly? Are we eating enough nutritious food to fuel our bodies every day? I doubt so…

AIA Health Perspective: A Reality Check roundtable discussion

However, let’s check out the AIA Health Perspective: A Reality Check roundtable discussion. The panelists consisted of Thomas Isaac, Director of Intuit Research; Indra Balaratnam, Consultant Dietitian of Indra Balaratnam Nutrition; Jacqueline Wong, Head of Learning and Development, Fitness First Asia and the session was moderated by Dr Myralini S. Thesan, Medical Director and Head of Care Management, AIA Health Services Sdn. Bhd.

I was listening to the findings presented by Thomas Isaac for AIA and found out that…Oh no… Malaysia scored 63% which is below the regional average of 64% in 2016 Healthy Living Index! A bit of a background on the survey, this is the third wave of AIA’s landmark survey of over 10,000 adults across 15 countries in Asia Pacific. The first and second survey were conducted in 2011 and 2013 respectively. 

The 2016 survey also showed that the 751 Malaysian adults who participated in the survey scored 68 points which is lower compared to the regional average of 73 points, when asked if they were satisfied with their health status. Close to 70% of Malaysian adults felt their health was not as good as it was 5 years ago. Even worrying is that 61% of the respondents are under age 30 years old, who should in fact be in the prime of their health. Puzzling isn’t it?

Obesity is also another growing concern with 55% of Malaysian adults who are either pre-obese or obese, based on BMI. This is considered a glaring statistic. This is true enough as 61% of Malaysian adults want to lose an average of 8.5 kg , placing Malaysia among the top three countries with the highest weight-loss targets.

According to Indra Balaratnam, the Consultant Dietitian, incorporating a healthy diet in our lifestyle does not necessarily have to be expensive. We can choose to eat moderately and add more vegetables and fruits to our meals apart from drinking more water daily. However, Malaysian adults still have the perception that healthy food is expensive, does not taste very good and is harder to prepare. Plus more than 80% admitted that they eat in front of their screens and more often than not, indulge in unhealthy snacks.

When it comes to the topic of exercise, Malaysian adults claim that they exercise regularly about 2.6 hours a week. FYI, this is lower than the regional average of 3 hours and the minimum 3.5 hours a week is recommended by most fitness experts.

It is almost expected to find out that Malaysian adults spend more time on the internet for non-work purposes which is 4.1 hours a day as compared to the hours dedicated to exercising. Interesting facts, the question is “Are you one of them?”

However hope has not abandoned us! Malaysian adults show signs of positivity with 91% who admit that they can definitely do more to improve their health. It’s encouraging that 75% said they have taken some small steps to want to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

It’s good to know that we as Malaysians want to improve our health but how can we make it sustainable when screen time is a big threat to healthy living? According to the panelists,, a healthy lifestyle starts with setting realistic goals, taking small steps, do what we enjoy and are good at and most important of all, is to start now. It’s good to start with a group of friends or family to encourage each other to achieve our goals.

Thomas Wong, Chief Marketing Officer of AIA Bhd. (far right) with the panelists. Thomas was present at the roundtable discussion to introduce the AIA Healthy Living Index Survey 2016

Overall, Malaysian adults are not satisfied with their current state of health and are willing to improve it. The survey has shown that we have a truck load of bad habits that hinder us from achieving a healthy lifestyle. We eat in front of the screens, we snack on unhealthy junk food plus we indulge in late night suppers. Out of all the habits cultivated, the screen time is the biggest threat. We only exercise 2.6 hours a week verses 4.1 hours a day on screens. Since we are spending so much time on our gadgets, perhaps there should be a comprehensive motivational application that could help us monitor our exercise routine, daily movement, diet or meal plan, how many hours we sleep, get rewarded when we hit our goals and at the same time help us to connect with people who share the same goal. Would AIA have something up their sleeves that could actually help Malaysians lead a healthy lifestyle?

Thomas Wong, Chief Marketing Officer of AIA Bhd. said “With rising medical costs, people must be encouraged to make healthier lifestyle choices. At AIA, we want to do more than simply pay claims; we want to play an active role in empowering and incentivising Malaysians to make sustained changes to their lifestyles on a daily basis so that we become a healthier nation.”

Had a coffee chat with Khir Khalid, blogger and motivator who also attended the roundtable discussion after the event

You can’t buy health, you got to earn it.  To do this, we can take one step at a time and set achievable goals towards a more sustainable healthier lifestyle together with our family and friends. Keep up with the good vibes!

For more information about AIA Healthy Living Index Survey 2016 Malaysia findings, please visit AIA Malaysia Website

44 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks and hope you drop by more often too.

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  2. Definitely good to track our own health. Great initiative from AIA for their Healthy Living Index survey

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    1. Hi Miriam, yes rewards for our workout and healthy lifestyle are the way forward.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this good articles, I should follow your tips to be healthy like you.

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    Replies
    1. You are welcome. Every little step counts so don't forget to exercise.

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  4. A good and healthy lifestyle is really important. Good that AIA has carried out such survey to find out the reasons behind it :)

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    Replies
    1. Yes its a good initiative, at least now we know the healthy condition of overall Malaysians adults.

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  5. at my age, I do need to keep myself more healthy then ever, thanks for the great article....

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    Replies
    1. Hi Miera, keep the good vibes and lead a healthier life.

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  6. We need to keep track on our health anytime. AIA have a good initiative to do that ! ;)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, its a way to motivate and keep track of our health.

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  7. Healthy is essential as even money can't buy it. I try my best to keep myself healthy by exercise 3 days in a week and eat clean =)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Shini, yup and there is no short cut. We have to work it out.

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  8. I always believe health is the prerequisite of wealth. Good write up !

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ken and I believe in that too.

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  9. totally agree! but it's often times people realize the importance when they are facing health problem.

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    Replies
    1. True also that is why more awareness should be shared out so that the public will take note. Hopefully they will take initiative to improve their health before its too late.

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  10. We should take care of our body while you fight for our own future. Thanks for your sharing

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    Replies
    1. Hi Yoke Ching, glad to know that. When our health is at tip top level we can perform better.

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  11. Thanks for the sharing and tips! I guess we have to buy life protection to prevent any financial problem regarding our health!

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    Replies
    1. Sharon, yes and its better to start early.

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  12. nothing important than our health!! We should take care our body!! Thanks for sharing!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Hui Ying, true. We have to work it out and earn our health while we can.

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  13. this is the company i use for my personal insurance too, it's very reliable

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    Replies
    1. Hi Leona, I glad to know that. Awesome!

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  14. insurance so important.. i still don't have one. argh

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    Replies
    1. Isaac, you should consider to have one at least you are covered.

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  15. Nothing is more precious and important than our health and best is to cover it.

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    Replies
    1. Yes its so true. We never know what will happen tomorrow.

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  16. Having insurance do help us a lot as we won't know what will happen next. Looks like I need to check out AIA since really looks not bad to have one.

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    Replies
    1. You can get more information through their website or call their hotline. I am sure they will assist you.

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  17. Thanks for the informative post. Yes, we all need proper insurance policies for ourselves and family.

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    Replies
    1. Yes its a protection in case anything happen we have something to rely on.

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  18. The plan seem good offer by AIA. I have bought my own plan with other insurance company. By the ways thanks for sharing this.

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  19. That was a good read about obesity in Malaysia. As an obese myself, I agree with the points in the article.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rodger, do try to start take small steps toward a healthier life.

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  20. After reading this. I feel....very unhealthy HAHAHAHHA TT So sad. Thanks for sharing Kelly <3

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anis, don't feel sad. You can start to take small steps towards a healthy life.

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  21. Thanks for the insights! Great key takeaways from the event! Very informative! Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Hi Sebrinah, indeed. I wish to share more with you all too.

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