"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." - World Health Organization, 1948
Synovate surveyed almost 12,000 people from across 17 countries - Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, Korea, Netherlands, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, UAE, UK, USA - to understand attitudes towards and confidence in purchasing medication over the counter, the belief in the effectiveness of stores' own labels versus branded medications, as well as the influence of doctors and pharmacists.
Overall, the majority of respondents (60%) feel in good health, with 13% going as far as to say that they are in excellent health.
Respondents from the UAE led the pack, with 84% considering themselves in good (49%) or excellent (35%) health, closely followed by Indonesia (82%).
According to Per-Henrik Karlsson, Business Development Director for Synovate CEEME (Central / Eastern Europe and Middle East), being health-conscious is relatively new for many of the local and expatriate populations in the UAE.
"This means many people are less aware of what is healthy and unhealthy, so their standards may not be up to the same level as other countries. However, the UAE is considered to have excellent healthcare - the majority of locals and expats have private medical coverage and medical facilities are of the highest quality. This could contribute to people feeling they're in excellent or good health," Karlsson said.
However, not all markets shared this healthy outlook. In particular, Korea and Taiwan have a different view, with only 37% and 39% respectively claiming to be in good or excellent health.
Explains Frank Jellinek, Client Relationship Manager for Synovate Korea:
"Koreans are perfectionists when it comes to health and appearance. Whereas the older generation believes that 'health comes from within', the post-Korea War generation sees this slightly differently, and is investing heavily in beauty and health treatments. It could be said therefore, that the majority of Koreans are not happy with their state of health as they know they could be even healthier and so go 'full-out' to achieve this! This also explains the enormous variety of health products, natural or otherwise, that can be purchased in stores, by home visit and online."