Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We are not as healthy as we think we are

A few days ago, I was seating on my favorite chair at home, shirtless and eating donut while watching TV when my 5 year-old son Charles approached me, rubbed my tummy and said, “Daddy, be good to your tummy, ha?”

Yesterday, I felt a little dizzy waking up for work after I slept a little over midnight to finish a movie I downloaded online. I’ve been staying up late for movie marathons since college and this was probably the first time, as far as I can remember, that I felt like that.

And just this afternoon, PhilCare sent me a Wellness Box that includes (let me test my memory if I can still remember all the items without opening the package again) a jumping rope, a bar of calamansi soap, a bar of oatmeal soap, a pack of health tea, a bottle of seaweed mask, a bottle of organic essential oil and a health card. Hmm, I hope I did not miss any item.

With the series of signs pointing me to be a little cautious with my health, I am now thinking of ways on how to be fit again. I hate to admit it but I think I am not as healthy as I think I am. Have you asked yourself the same question lately?

By the way, the “box” that I got was from top HMO provider in the Philippines, PhilCare, which I want to commend for doing an awesome job with my health insurance for three years now.  Just recently, I heard that PhilCare, aside from providing medical and hospitalization benefits to its member, went an extra mile in coming up with a study to determine the state of health of the Filipinos in a more holistic manner. Benchmarked with similar studies conducted in developed countries, the PhilCare Wellness Index, which is the first wellness index in the Philippines, serves as an eye-opener on how Filipinos perceive leading healthy lives.

Designed, managed and analized by Dr. Fernando Paragas, a Filipino professor at the Nanyang University in Singapore commissioned by Philcare, the study involved a face-to-face interview with 1,200 respondents from Metro Manila and key cities in the country where they were asked about matters pertaining to their lifestyles as well as the nutritional, physical, psychological, and medical aspects of their lives.

The PhilCare Wellness Index, considered as a ground-breaking study to measure and uncover Pinoy’s sense of well being, shows some interesting results that I would like to share. In general, many Filipinos feel good about their health. The bad news is that they may not really be as healthy as they would like to think. We have a tendency to be in denial about our health which reflects our habit of starting to be mindful about our well-being only when we start to get sick.  

1. Most Filipinos think they are fit yet they’re not. The survey said that 54 percent of the respondents believe their weight is ideal for their height and that 54 percent think they are in overall good health. After analyzing their actual height and weight, it appears that only 45 percent of them fit the normal category applying the Asian Body Mass Index range. About 46 percent are either overweight or obese, while another 8.6 percent fall below the average BMI.

2. We know what a healthy diet is but are not eating the right food.  The PhilCare Wellness Index showed that 44 percent of respondents believe that they know what comprises a balance diet. In fact, 70 percent said they eat breakfast regularly, while about 60 percent eat fruits and vegetables daily. However, about 27 percent of them regularly eat fried or fatty food, 21 percent love eating sugary foods and drinks, and 15 percent eat processed and junk food daily.  

3. Sex matters. Lovemaking carries a big impact in a person’s morale and over all psychological well-being. The study tells that that married couples should work more to build the intimacy in the marriage because a healthy intimate moment equates to psychological health.

4. People with status “It’s Complicated” are more active in bed. Widowed and separated Filipinos are having more sex than the usual married individuals. It said that a married person do it 2.95 times per week, while a widowed person’s average is 4.33 a week. A separated person is slightly higher at 4.38.

5.  There is a lack of prevention against diseases. The PhilCare Wellness Index  also reports majority of Filipinos regularly drink alcohol. About 58 percent said they drink alcoholic beverages. They consume about six bottles or glasses of alcohol per week. About 49 percent also smoke cigarettes and, on average, they consume 10 sticks daily.

6. Work-life balance is a must but many misinterpret it.   85% of Filipinos enjoy a good work-life balance. However, 41.1percent of them admit experiencing stress slightly. The reason for this is that many still tend to relate the “happy hour” mentality as a means to achieve a balanced life. Regarding stress, many resort to binge drinking after office. This is their way to handle stress.

7.  Filipinos tend to behave when it comes to getting medical care. On the upside, 59 percent of respondent said they can easily go to a doctor whenever they get sick. Despite this, majority – or 74 percent – still admit that they self-medicate, which is a very dangerous habit of Filipinos.

So you see dear friends and countrymen, admit it or not, we are not as healthy as we think we are. When do we need to start to change our ways for a healthier life? The answer is now. Again, I’m echoing what my son said to me recently, “Be good to your tummy.” That’s one good first step we can all take in our journey towards wellness.

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