When consumers’ self-claimed state of health is compared with their body mass index it appears that their perceptions about their state of health often do not accurately reflect the probable true state of affairs. More than 90% rate their health as fair to excellent, with half of these consumers reporting BMI of below or above the normal range of 18-25. Those who say they engage in regular exercise are more likely to perceive their own health to be excellent or good (28% vs 23% of all those surveyed), as is also the case for those who consume health supplements (27% vs 23% of those surveyed).
This suggests that when consumers evaluate the state of their health they take into account not just measurements but also what they do in their daily lives to maintain their health. About 1 in 4 Hong Kong consumers report close to perfect health, saying they do not experience ill-health and do not fear doing so in the future.
Hong Kong consumers are health conscious
Regardless of consumers’ self-perceived state of health (from poor to excellent), more than half say they are health conscious (trying their best within current lifestyle)/are serious about maintaining their health (go all out to ensure their overall wellbeing).
Emotions play a key role in consumers wanting to take their health seriously. This includes the desire to avoid being a burden on their family and the desire to take care of them. This is especially true of the group of consumers serious about maintaining their health.
“If it aint broke, don’t fix it.”
In general, Hong Kong consumers’ attitudes are positive when it comes to maintaining their overall wellbeing, but this consists more of thought than of action. The act of taking care of one’s overall wellbeing is still largely based on problems and solutions. Although most say they agree that prevention is better than cure, more than half say that in the event of health concerns they would seek remedies.
About one third of Hong Kong consumers say they are not proactive with their health and have no intention of being so. This is largely driven by the mindset of “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”. For these consumers there is no reason at the moment to take any action. The discipline involved in sticking to a set routine is another factor that contributes to this outlook.
Those who rate their own health as very good/excellent tend to be more positive than others when it comes to their outlook on health or when life is not going well for them and are more likely to seek professional advice or guidance. Interestingly, those who say their health is poor show stronger agreement about the importance of being emotionally happy and of having time for themselves and a more balanced lifestyle. More in this group also tend to think that day-to-day management is more important when it comes to health issues.
Out of sight, out of mind
Despite the overall positive attitudes on health issues, fewer in this group than of those who rate the state of their health more highly agreed that they remain optimistic when times are tough.
Hong Kong consumers are anxious about ailments that would greatly debilitate them in their everyday life. Stress, lack of sleep, insomnia, anxiety and/or depression are of concern to more than 40% of them. Concerns about such medical conditions tend to outweigh those about other illnesses, particularly among those who are currently experiencing the former, notably insomnia and anxiety/depression/frustration.
Cancer and other cardiovascular or chronic diseases are the ailments that worry Hong Kong consumers most, followed by cognitive related diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, females are more concerned than males about cognitive related diseases.
Food choice (mainly for general wellbeing, appearance and physical health) and exercising/actively monitoring/engaging in certain activities (mental/psychological and cognitive) are the two most popular choices of action in response to health concerns, for both those with health issues and those who foresee the possibility of having them.
Enjoyment in a practical way
The overall lifestyle of Hong Kong consumers is seen as routinely healthy, with most maintaining 7-8 hours of sleep on weekdays, and nine hours on weekends. Most Hong Kong consumers are unlikely to skip meals. Instead, given Chinese food culture and the number of eateries in Hong Kong (everything is “around the corner”), “snacking through the day” well describes the lifestyle of about one in three Hong Kong consumers, especially on weekends.
Regardless of healthy daily routines, choice of food and dining locations are still largely driven by Hong Kong’s fast pace of life. More than half of consumers visit fast food restaurants at least once a week, and about half the time main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – are eaten at home. Indulgence and price are the two key drivers for food choice that take precedence over the healthiness of food.
Organic and so-called super-food are still not a significant food choice for Hong Kong consumers.
On average, monthly spending on health supplements and medication vs food is evenly split. With health concerns and high spending on supplements and medications, 4 in 10 consumers have insurance (medical and life) and have a certain level of savings as a form of protection or life assurance.
Hong Kong consumers are increasingly more conscious about the way they shop, and they regard themselves as more “proficient” when they buy things. Pre-planning (including budgeting, shopping lists and checking on sales promotions) is common, with the potential of a change of mind while in a store. More than 80% of consumers look for other deals or even brands/similar products when they are in a store even if they have made certain decisions before visiting the store.
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