Foreign expatriates in Thailand are actively taking control of their physical health while they struggle with their mental health.
- 77 per cent of expats in Thailand admit that the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on their mental health.
- Three quarters of expats in Thailand (77%) would rather live in their home country during the Coronavirus pandemic. This data is shown in the Expat experiences survey, published by the international health benefits provider Aetna International.
The report, which surveyed 1,000 expats in the UK, US, China, Thailand, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, explores what impact the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown had on expat health and well-being, addressing both their mental and physical health.
Regionally, expats in Thailand appear to be living the healthiest lives during the pandemic:
- The highest percentage of expats who are eating more healthily during the Covid-19 pandemic live in Thailand (80%), which is higher than the national average of 59.9%.
- The highest percentage of expats who are exercising more during the pandemic live in Thailand (57%) which is higher than the national average of 43.4%.
- Expats in Thailand are the least likely to drink more alcohol (9%) which is lower than the national average of 18.2%.
IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON MENTAL HEALTH While many expats in Thailand are taking positive steps to improve their physical health during the pandemic, many are struggling with their mental health: • Thailand shows the largest percentage of people (77%) who feel that their mental health has been affected by the pandemic while just over half (54%) of expats in Thailand suffer from mental health issues. This figure is also higher than the national average of 63.6%. Thailand shows the largest percentage of people (29%) who feel that their mental health has been seriously affected by the pandemic. This is much higher than the national average of 16.9%.
EXPAT ATTITUDE DURING COVID-19 Globally, more than half of the expats surveyed (56.3%) say they would rather live in their home country during the coronavirus pandemic. The regional analysis reveals that the highest percentage of expats (71%) who say they would rather live in their home country, are currently living in Thailand.
A WIDER LOOK While expats in Thailand are taking the lead in pursuing healthier lifestyles and dietary habits, expats across the globe are also actively taking control of their physical health in the pandemic and lockdown:
- 59.9% are eating more healthily during the pandemic.
- 43.4% of expats are exercising more during the crisis.
- 37.1% of expats do not drink alcohol and 27.8% are drinking less alcohol. While most expats have adjusted their lifestyles and dietary habits for the better, the same cannot be said for every country:
- Expats in the US and the UK drink more alcohol during the pandemic (26% and 24.4% respectively),
- The lowest percentage of expats who are eating more healthily live in the UK (48.8%).
- The lowest percentage of expats who are exercising more live in Singapore (30.7%).
Dr Hemal Desai, Global Medical Director of Aetna International, says: “As a large number of expats across the globe are actively pursuing healthier lives during the Covid-19 crisis, it shows that people understand the importance of achieving good health and well-being, especially during this difficult time.
“While most expats are leading healthier lifestyles and dietary habits, we must acknowledge some expats have struggled to pursue healthier options with about one in five eating less healthily or consuming more alcohol. In addition, over 60% of expats have admitted an impact on their mental health which is important to address.
“This is why it’s essential for expats and the globally-mobile to have convenient access to virtual or digital health support – from digital counselling to self-help apps. “Taking care of both your physical and mental health is critical which is why health and well-being support systems are so vital during these difficult times.”