Premier global nutrition company, Herbalife Nutrition, released findings from its Asia Pacific Health Inertia Survey 2021, which revealed that over six in ten consumers in the region said that their current mental and physical health were less than ideal (‘fair’ or ‘poor’), outnumbering those who felt that they were ‘good’, ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.
This included 68% of Malaysian survey respondents who rated their physical health as ‘fair’ or ‘poor’, while 66% rated their mental health as ‘fair’ or ‘poor’. This reflected a decline to 2020, wherein consumers were split over whether the state of their health was better or worse.
Conducted in July and August 2021, Herbalife Nutrition’s Asia Pacific Health Inertia Survey 2021 polled 5,496 consumers aged 18 and above in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The survey revealed insights into the impact of the pandemic on consumers’ health, as well as their attitudes and behaviors towards improving their well-being.
For those who saw a deterioration in their physical health in the past 12 months, eight in ten Malaysian respondents attributed it to the lack of physical activity, with the country being in and out of lock downs over the past year. This was followed by 42% eating more unhealthy food and lack of community support to keep up with exercise regimens (34%).
When it comes to mental health deterioration, 70% cited the key reasons included staying home more often due to movement restrictions, the lack of outdoor activities (60%) and stress over work uncertainties (54%). For respondents who saw an improvement in their physical and mental health compared to 12 months ago, the common contributing factor was more exercise. Other factors included consumption of healthier meals, community support and more personal time and space.
“Building on the key learnings for the survey and understanding how the pandemic has affected people’s lifestyles, we kicked off our Shape Up campaign in December 2021. Through the campaign, we encourage Malaysians to take back their health by getting back into a routine with regular exercise and healthy eating,” said Steven Chin, who is Senior Director and General Manager of Herbalife Nutrition Malaysia and Singapore. “Each new year offers an exciting opportunity for a fresh start. We are committed to supporting Malaysians in starting the year on a positive note to take better care of their health and well-being.”
Herbalife Survey Reveals Many Have Started Looking After their Well-being
Despite the results indicating that the majority of consumers in Malaysia believe their health to be less than ideal, many have taken the first step towards healthier eating habits and increasing exercise as a result of the pandemic. 58 percentage of Malaysian consumers said they started eating healthier. Among those who said they started to eat less healthily due to the pandemic, the number one factor quoted was the ability to easily access unhealthy snacks.
The survey conducted by Herbalife also revealed that 41% of Malaysian consumers started exercising more because of the pandemic. For those who exercised less during the pandemic, most claimed to exercise 1 to 3 days less per week than before the pandemic hit, citing lack of personal motivation to exercise, lack of space at home to exercise, and the inability to access gyms and fitness centers as the main reasons.
Technology Key in Enabling Healthy Active Behaviors
With the digital wave sweeping across countries in Asia Pacific, technology and social media is also playing a more important role to support healthy active living. One in two Malaysian consumers now use technology tools such as fitness trackers, 43% access publicly available virtual fitness classes and videos, fitness and workout apps (22%) and nutrition apps (22%) to support their healthy living regimen.
31% of Malaysian consumers reported experiencing a positive influence from social media, while 48% stated social media had no influence on their mental health. Those who indicated social media as having a positive effect cited reading of inspirational/motivational content (58%), viewing of humorous/light-hearted content (51%), and inspiration/motivation from social media influencers (51%) as contributing factors.
Clear Desire to Kickstart Healthy Active Lifestyles
When asked about their plans to adopt healthy active living habits in the next 12 months, 90 per cent of Malaysian consumers said that they plan to eat more healthily, while 85% plan to exercise more.
Among the steps that they would take to eat more healthily include:
- Drink more water (76%)
- Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my meals (63%)
- Reduce my consumption of sugar and sweets (61%)
Key actions that they would take to exercise more include:
- Create a specific routine that incorporates regular exercise (65%)
- Influence family and friends to exercise together physically or virtually (41%)
- Purchase exercise equipment to work out at home (29%)