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Philips Index of Global Well-being

By November 18, 2010Commentary

Phillips is one of the conglomerates, like GE and Siemens, that is increasingly seeking revenue from the health care world.  The company sponsored a recent survey of 30,000 people in 23 countries about factors contributing to their sense of well-being.  (Philips Index) The index is calculated by looking at  work factors, physical and emotional health items, family/friend relationships and community factors.  Some countries, such as India, the US and Brazil, in which people say their state of well-being is good, don’t do as well on individual measures in the index and others with low subjective states, like China and Taiwan, have higher individual measure performance.  Cultural factors are clearly at work.

Overall, around the world about 20% of the population says their state of health and well-being is very good, 42% say good, 18% say neutral, 18% say not good and 3% say not good at all.  People in Italy, Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are by far the most likely to say they are in a very good state, with each country over 50%; and people in the UK, China, Taiwan and Malaysia are the most likely to identify themselves as in a not so good or not good at all state. Interestingly, India, China, UAE, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Germany report the most positive movement over the past five years and Japan, Taiwan, Italy, Belgium and France the most negative.

The biggest gaps in importance of a factor compared to satisfaction with it are around earnings and the cost of living.  These gaps exist everywhere but are highest in Japan, Brazil and Taiwan for earnings and the US, the UK, Japan and France for the cost of living.  The biggest gaps in physical health are in the UK and Japan.  Generally people are more satisfied with relationships with friends and family than with a spouse/partner.  Fewer people perceive themselves to be overweight than are according to formal measures.  Many people in most countries don’t think they get enough sleep.  People state that the best way they can improve their health and well-being is spending more time with friends and family.  This report is full of fascinating items.

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