The EIU’s Health of Asia Barometer report shows the quality of health information and wellness management is being improved by public and private sector initiatives

January 11, 2021


  • Over half (53%) of citizens surveyed across 13 Asian countries are so overwhelmed by available health and wellness information they don’t know what to focus on
  • Social media is the leading source of such information, far overshadowing that sought from health authorities and other formal medicine
  • Financial considerations constrain 56% of respondents—and more in less developed countries—from taking action to improve their personal health and wellness
  • Digital health ecosystems, supported by open and fair data governance, can improve health information audiences and support health management

The inaugural  report from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), supported by Prudential Corporation Asia (Prudential), found considerable awareness among people living in Asia of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle, but several constraints on their ability to pursue that goal. Some of the constraints are financial, and others involve limited access to exercise or other, health and wellness facilities. Although health and wellness information is widely available, its quality can sometimes leave much to be desired, further limiting people’s ability to improve their wellbeing.

 report is based on a survey of 5,000 people from 13 countries and territories in Asia: Cambodia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The respondents range in age between 21 and 55 years and are split roughly evenly between males and females.

A strong desire to improve their personal health is evident among respondents, something very likely influenced to some degree by the covid-19 pandemic. For example, more than half took multiple steps to improve their health in the three months preceding the survey (conducted in August and September 2020). Exercising more and changes in diet were the most common steps taken, but many people have also sought to improve their emotional well-being as greater stress and anxiety have taken a toll during the crisis.

The study also finds that citizens are using a wide variety of digital tools to monitor aspects of their health, including blood pressure monitors, smart watches and smart thermometers. While undoubtedly useful, the utility of these tools, for individuals and for health authorities, could be enhanced if connected to a digital health ecosystem which includes centralised repositories of information.

Charles Ross, the editor of the report, said: “There has been no shortage of initiatives in this region to educate citizens about the link between their lifestyles and incidence of disease. But governments and other healthcare actors need to become smarter in their outreach to ensure that people are provided not just with sufficient but also high-quality health and wellness information. Digital technology and connected data are integral to such efforts, but partnerships involving the private sector also have a role to play.”

The full report can be found 
Press enquiries:
Charles Ross, Editorial Director, Asia, The Economist Intelligence Unit
Briony Lin, Assistant Marketing Manager, Content Solutions, Asia
About The Economist Intelligence Unit
The EIU is the thought leadership, research and analysis division of The Economist Group and the world leader in global business intelligence for executives. We uncover novel and forward-looking perspectives with access to over 650 expert analysts and editors across 200 countries worldwide. More information can be found on . Follow us on  and .
About Prudential Corporation Asia
Prudential Corporation Asia (Prudential) is a business unit of Prudential plc*, comprising its life insurance operations in Asia and Africa, as well as its asset management business, Eastspring Investments. Headquartered in Hong Kong, Prudential helps people get the most out of life through savings, protection and investment solutions that meet their diverse and evolving needs.
Prudential is a leading life insurer with operations spanning 13 markets in Asia, covering Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. In Africa, Prudential has a presence in eight markets, covering Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Togo, and Uganda. With a robust multi-channel distribution platform, Prudential delivers comprehensive and innovative solutions to more than 16 million customers across the two continents.
Eastspring Investments manages investments in Asia on behalf of a wide range of retail and institutional investors. It is a leading Asia-based asset manager with on-the-ground presence in 11 major Asian markets as well as distribution offices in North America and Europe. It has US$220 billion in assets under management (as at 30 June 2020), managing funds across a range of asset classes including equities and fixed income.
In line with the company’s mission to make healthcare affordable and accessible for all, ‘Pulse by Prudential’ (Pulse) was first introduced in Malaysia in August 2019. Today, Pulse is available in 12 markets across Asia and Africa. The app uses AI-powered self-help tools and real-time information to serve as a 24/7 health and wellness partner to users, helping them prevent, postpone, and protect against the onset of diseases. As at December 2020, the app has been downloaded more than 15 million times in Asia. For more information on Pulse: .
* Prudential plc is listed on the stock exchanges of London (PRU.L), Hong Kong (), Singapore () and New York (PUK.N). It is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential Financial, Inc. a company whose principal place of business is in the United States nor with The Prudential Assurance Company, a subsidiary of M&G plc, a company incorporated in the United Kingdom.

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