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Davaoeños smoke more, feel unprepared for medical emergencies, yet still feel good about their health.

DAVAO CITY – A nationwide study conducted by PhilCare, a leading health maintenance organization (HMO), show that Davaoeños said they feel good about their health despite relative frequent smoking and lack of preparedness for medical emergencies.

Those from Davao City smoke an average of ten sticks a day compared to the nationwide average of about four, researchers of the 2nd PhilCare Wellness Index revealed.

The PhilCare Wellness Index is the only study in the Philippines that measures the level of perceived health and wellness among Filipinos. Of the 150 respondents in Davao City, 81 are male and 69 are female. Among the 81 male respondents, 65 (or 80%) said they smoke. Among female respondents, only five (or 7%) smoke. On average, male smokers said they consume about ten sticks of cigarettes per day.

Ironies Abound

In terms of health and wellness compared to most other Filipinos, with a “good” score of 2.46, compared to the “somewhat good” nationwide self-rating of 2.84, the Davaoeños rated themselves as better. Contrary to the overall composite score for wellness where the Davaoeños scored 3.66, which is classified as “neither good nor bad,” compared to the “somewhat good” nationwide rating of 3.24.

The average rating of the respondents’ overall composite score is based on six wellness domains: psychological, physical, lifestyle, financial, medical, and nutritional wellness.

When asked about their medical wellness, Davaoeños said they either did not have enough monetary resources for medical-related expenses or did not have regular check-ups compared to most other Filipinos. Davaoeños scored a “somewhat bad” 4.88 rating compared to the nationwide average of 4.02, which means “neither good nor bad.”

When it came to their rest and relaxation spending, however, Davaoeños spent a lot more than most other Filipinos, shelling out an average of at least Php4,800. That is around 60% higher than the nationwide average of at least Php3,000.

When asked about how well their finances are, Davaoeños said they are in a worse shape compared to most other Filipinos. They scored 4.38, which means “neither good nor bad” on the Wellness Index scale, but means worse compared to the “somewhat good” nationwide score of 3.42.

This means that our countrymen down south said they do not earn that much as others and are in less of a position to save and invest. They are also relatively not comfortable with their debt situation.
Davaoeños also fared worse than most other Filipinos in terms of lifestyle wellness, scoring 3.72, which is classified as “neither good nor bad” compared to the “somewhat good” nationwide average of 3.12.

A Responsive Study

Dr. Fernando Paragas, lead researcher and University of the Philippines associate professor, said that the PhilCare Wellness Index is composed of several wellness statements. 
Doc Paragas
Other respondents from key parts of the country were asked to rate themselves from a seven-point scale, with the score of one as “very good;” two as “good;” three and four as “somewhat good” range; five and six as “somewhat bad;” and a score of seven, which is “very bad.”

The wellness statements cover psychological, physical, medical, nutritional, financial, and lifestyle aspects. The index also asked respondents to rate their stress levels and satisfaction from sex, among others.

The PhilCare Wellness Index allowed the HMO company to develop affordable and responsive medical insurance plans that provided coverage to thousands of uninsured Filipinos. This 2019, 1,350 Filipinos nationwide were interviewed. 300 of the respondents came from Mindanao, 150 of which are from Davao City and from Tagum City, Davao Del Norte.

Mindanao Findings

Mindanaoans, in general, also said that they feel positive about their health despite being financially ill-prepared for medical-related emergencies and not being in a good state of health compared to the rest of the Filipinos.

Our countrymen down south rated themselves as having “good” health, scoring 2.67 compared to 2.84 “somewhat good” nationwide rating. But when it comes to the actual determinants of wellness, Mindanaoans scored 3.66, which may be “neither good nor bad,” but is worse than the “somewhat good” 3.24 nationwide rating. 

Mindanaoans also said that they do not have the capability to pay for their medical-related expenses and do not get to have regular check-ups, scoring 4.82, which is “somewhat bad” compared to the 4.02 nationwide score, which is “neither good nor bad.” But when it comes to rest and relaxation, Mindanaoans also spend at least Php4,800, much higher than the Php3,000 national average.

Other key wellness factors wherein Mindanaoans performed worse are financial wellness and lifestyle wellness. For financial wellness, they scored 4.41, which is “neither good nor bad,” but is worse than the 3.42 “somewhat good” nationwide score. For lifestyle wellness, meanwhile, Mindanaoans scored 3.73, which is also “neither good nor bad,” but is also worse than the 3.12 “somewhat good” nationwide rating.

Sex Life

More Davaoeños and Mindanaoans have sex compared to the rest of the country, both at 77% (116 respondents for Davao City, 232 respondents for Mindanao) compared to 61% (821 respondents) nationwide.
Davaoeños and Mindanaoans are also more satisfied with their sex life compared to most Filipinos, rating it as “good” (2.05 for Davao City, 2.10 for Mindanao) as against other Filipinos, who describe it as “somewhat good” (2.74). 

Also, Davaoeños and Mindanaoans who said they have sex said they do it thrice a week compared to the nationwide average of twice a week.

In Davao City, specifically, more males (92.5% or 75 respondents) have said they have sex compared to females (61% or 42 respondents).

Nationwide Results

Despite Filipinos’ “somewhat good” sense of optimism about their health, they admit lacking the confidence to address their medical needs. About 40% are unsure if they can pay for their medical bills, while 35% are also unsure they could afford regular medical checkups.
The inability to finance their medical needs was also evident in the findings of the survey, which said that more than 60% of respondents have incurred up to P30,000 in medical bills.
About 37% managed to pay their bills using their savings, while 25% ended up seeking help from friends and relatives to pay what they owe. Only 15% were able to settle their bills using health insurance.

Among the respondents that were hospitalized in the previous year, the survey also revealed that only 63% of them managed to use their PhilHealth benefits to ease the burden of their medical expenses.
The study was inspired by wellness and health indices in New Zealand (The Sovereign Wellbeing Index of 2015), Canada (The Canadian Index of Wellbeing), and the United States (The State of American Well-Being of 2017).

Apart from the self-evaluations of physical, nutritional, medical, psychological, lifestyle, and financial well-being, the study also measured stress, sex, vices, and health practices.

Dr. Paragas said this year’s PhilCare Wellness Index involved not just a survey, but also a series of focus group discussions, where participants from different sectors delved on problems and solutions relevant to the goal of inclusive health care.

PhilCare President and CEO Jaeger L. Tanco said the results of the survey are very useful in helping the health sector come up with programs that address the needs of Filipinos, helping them attain a better state of wellness.

There is more to health than just the absence of disease. Our vision is to help promote a brand of health that is holistic and inclusive. The PhilCare Wellness Index gives us a clear picture on where we are when it comes to wellness and, more importantly, it charts a clear path on how far we can go to promote health among Filipinos,” he said.

Former Health Secretary and Chairman of the 2019 PhilCare Wellness Index, Dr. Enrique T. Ona, said PhilCare intends to share more findings of the study to the public to raise awareness of the well-being of Filipinos. “PhilCare will also forge partnerships with the government sector so they could use this proprietary study of PhilCare to craft relevant policies. We have findings in this study that may be very useful in the goal of the government to attain truly universal health care,” Dr. Ona said.

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