So, what does healthy living mean for those in the region? Going by their budgets, a good diet is on top of the list. Respondents said they spend as much on healthy eating (28 per cent of their healthy living budget) as medical treatments, while 20 per cent is spent on exercise, and the rest on supplements and activities such as meditation.
Issues such as air, water and noise pollution, as well as food safety, are among the top five concerns in the region, according to the study.
Getting enough sleep is also a crucial factor in a healthy life. The research shows people are sleeping even less than they want, with the average gap between actual and desired hours of sleep rising to 1.2 hours in 2018 from 1 hour in 2016. Australia shows a steep drop-off, with only 66 per cent saying they sleep enough, down from 76 per cent in 2016. People in Vietnam and India, though, manage to sleep on average 7 hours and 15 minutes each day – the most among all the survey markets.
These disparate trends could be tied to screen time, as studies have shown that using mobile devices at night affects sleep quality and efficiency. This is in line with mobile broadband penetration trends, which show Australia having 100 per cent mobile broadband access compared to less than 50 percent of the population in Vietnam and under 20 per cent in India.
This issue is emblematic of the transformational changes affecting the Asia-Pacific region, driven by technology and changing demographics. The research findings throw a spotlight on the evolving behaviour, expectations and thinking across the region of what constitutes an ideal, healthy lifestyle. Because the Index measures a mixture of habits and attitudes, it might not always move upwards as people’s expectations of what it means to live healthily change. But as long as they are taking steps to meet their own changing expectations, they’ll stay on the path to healthier living.