Australia’s growing addiction to digital devices and social networking is one of the key threats to healthy living, according to the 2016 Healthy Living Index Survey released today by life insurer AIA Australia.
Click here to view a full copy of the report.
More than half (52%) of adults surveyed agreed social networking and spending time online is becoming addictive for them, a 7% increase since 2013 (45%). Those saying it is hard to break the habit of spending too much time in front of screens has also increased (61% compared to 56% in 2013).
Indeed, the ‘always on’ mentality is leading many Australians to follow unhealthy eating habits and not get enough exercise. 85% admit they often eat while distracted and 55% believe that spending too much time online prevents them from getting enough exercise.
With 65% of Australians reporting their health is not as good as it was five years ago, the bi-annual survey provides a snapshot of health matters which have been most on our minds.
AIA Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Damien Mu, said the research highlights new modern day threats to healthy living which are fuelling growing concerns today and deteriorating health trends in Australia.
“Issues such as technology are both a health threat and opportunity. While those surveyed reported that spending excessive time online is affecting their health, 56% also said that they rely on the internet for information and advice on healthy foods. 46% of us are also using the internet or mobile phones to keep track of physical activity and to stay motivated to exercise.”
Wearable technology is becoming an increasingly popular way to help Aussies improve their health. One in five Australians currently owns an activity tracker, such as a fitbit or smart watch, and 82% of those who own a device wear it all or most of the time and find them useful in helping them become healthier.
Out of all health conditions, cancer is still the biggest concern for Australians (67%), followed by heart disease (65%), depression (65%) and being overweight/obese (63%). Two in three Australian adults (68%) would like to lose weight and, on average, would like to lose a total of 8.3 kgs.
While 90% of Australians acknowledge that they should be doing more to improve their health, 63% believe they have already begun to take small steps to address the issue. Having the right motivation, as ever, is key. Feeling better physically (89%) and mentally (87%) and setting smaller and more achievable goals (77%) are good motivators to exercise more or eating healthier.
The survey showed that Australians see healthy behaviours such as sufficient sleep, eating healthy and regular exercise as the most important drivers of healthy living, but also recognise the importance of psychological aspects such as work-life balance and a happy frame of mind. The survey also found that people over the age of 45 years old placed more importance on family relationships and medical check-ups compared to their younger counterparts.
Damien Mu added: “At AIA Australia, we see the effects of poor health first hand, with increasing numbers of claims made because of chronic diseases that affect a person’s ability to work, causing financial strain and impacting on their quality of life.
“By conducting this research, we get a better understanding of how we can support and incentivise Australians to achieve their lifestyle goals through programs like AIA Vitality, which rewards people for healthy behaviour. We are committed to empowering people to live longer and healthier lives by investing in health and wellbeing solutions that are adaptable for a range of lifestyles and life stages.”
More than 2,000 advisers in Australia have written at least one AIA Vitality-attached life insurance policy since launch, and data shows that clients that are highly engaged on the program are up to 40% less likely to lapse on their life insurance policies.
The 2016 AIA Australia Healthy Living Index Survey is an in-depth survey of over 10,000 people across 15 Asia Pacific markets conducted by global consumer research company, TNS, into perceptions, actions and satisfaction levels around healthy living. The sample size for Australia was 600 interviews (sampling error +/- 1%).
Media Contact: James Cameron
03 9009 4873
About AIA Australia
AIA Australia Limited is an independent life insurance specialist with over 40 years of experience building successful partnerships. One of the country’s leading life insurers, AIA Australia offers a range of products that protect the financial health and welfare of more than three million Australians.
AIA Australia is the one of the country’s largest group life insurers by market share and works closely with major financial institutions and corporate partners. In addition, AIA Australia offers retail insurance products through financial advisers and a valued network of affinity partners.
By having a partnership philosophy at the core of its business, AIA Australia is focused on building sustainable relationships that add true value to its business partners. Numerous industry awards over the past year, including AFR Smart Investor Life Company of the Year and ANZIIF’s Life Company of the Year, stand as testament to our commitment to productive partnerships.
AIA Australia is part of the AIA Group, a market leader in life insurance across the Asia Pacific region with over 90 years’ experience.