The UAE is among the fittest countries in the world, with a physical index score of 65.4 compared to a global average of 60, said Cigna Insurance Middle East (CIME), a leading global health services company, in a new report.
Over the last four years, UAE’s physical index has grown by nearly five points, which coincides with the growth of several community fitness initiatives including the annual Dubai Fitness Challenge in Dubai, Active Parks, and Forever Fit initiatives in Abu Dhabi, as well as other fitness campaigns in other Emirates.
The Cigna whitepaper reiterates that while UAE’s physical index has grown in the last four years, the average global physical index has dipped. This includes key global markets such as the UK, Spain, USA, Australia, and China [which recorded a marginal rise from 63.5 to 63.9].
Interestingly, the whitepaper reveals that women in UAE have got fitter – starting with the lowest physical well-being score of 59.2 in 2018, women in UAE have risen to 63.2 in 2022. The UAE women have thus surpassed not only global women well-being index (which slipped to 58.2) but also men globally at 61.7.
In his comments, Jerome Droesch, CEO of Domestic Health and Health Services – Cigna International Markets, said: “Cigna is deeply invested in understanding the health and well-being needs of the people in the UAE, having invested in research since 2016. We used historic findings from our annual Cigna 360 Well-being Survey to analyse trends in ‘Physical Well-being’ in the UAE and examined the contribution of various health and fitness initiatives undertaken by the government authorities to boost overall physical fitness in the country. Cigna collated the findings in a whitepaper, which reveals interesting insights on people’s changing lifestyles and their adoption of healthier physical fitness and well-being mindset over the past 5-6 years.”
Droesch added: “The whitepaper points out key aspects of the overall well-being levels of UAE’s women compared to both men and women globally. Last month, we announced that UAE has scored the highest across all well-being indices – physical, social, family, financial, and work, as compared to key global markets such as the UK, US, China, Spain, and Australia. Among other governmental measures to improve the quality of life of people in the UAE, improvement in the overall well-being indices can also be attributed towards such fitness-related initiatives in various Emirates.”
The whitepaper also adds that more millennials in the UAE, those in the 25-34 age-group, feel they are at a ‘Healthy Weight’ in 2022 – 50 per cent compared to 37 per cent in 2020 and are ‘exercising regularly’ – which is about 40 per cent currently compared to only 25 per cent in 2020.
In another interesting finding in the whitepaper, working parents with children studying in the UAE have not only scored better than their global counterparts in their physical well-being score [66.7 compared to 64 globally], but also beat those parents working without children in UAE [65.3].
“Fitness initiatives across the UAE demonstrate the commitment of the government to promote a more active lifestyle in the country. Backed by its world-class infrastructure, these initiatives contribute directly and significantly towards making Dubai and the UAE the preferred place to live and work. Cigna’s whitepaper reinforces this point beyond doubt,” added Droesch.
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