Fear of Illness Due to Lower Immunity Topped List of Malaysians’ Aging-Related Worries

The recently released findings from the 2020 Asia Pacific Healthy Aging Survey by Herbalife Nutrition revealed that Malaysian consumers have a clear vision of what healthy aging means to them, more than four in 10 consumers (44 precent) had the confidence to age healthily, with the fear of falling ill due to lower immunity as their top worry.

To shed light into consumers’ aging-related fears, concerns, confidence levels and actions, the survey polled equal numbers of Generation Z (18 – 23 years), Millennials (24 – 39 years), Generation X (40 – 55 years) and Boomers+ (55 years and above) in 11 markets including Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

“According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the country is expected to become an aging society by 2030. With the estimation that 7.2 per cent of the population will be 65 and older by next year[1], healthy aging should be addressed and articulated to protect the elderly by implementing preventive public health measures such as promoting a healthy lifestyle. Having this in mind, we should deepen our awareness about the need to take steps towards healthy aging early on in life,” said Steven Chin, General Manager and Director, Herbalife Nutrition Malaysia.

Defining Healthy Aging

When asked to define healthy aging in more tangible terms, Malaysian consumers painted a positive picture. Respondents shared that healthy aging is about not suffering from any chronic or acute illness (62 percent), being mentally active and sharp (59 percent), not being a burden to their family as they age (52 percent), living a free and independent life (51 percent) and being physically active (49 percent).

Aging-Related Concerns

Over half (64 percent) of Malaysian consumers believe that discussions on how to age healthily should begin between the ages of 30 and 49. The most common reason given for postponing discussions about aging was that they are still young, followed by the prioritization of their present health and lifestyle.

For those who are concerned about aging, two-thirds (64 percent) of consumers started to have concerns between the age of 30 and 59, with bone- and joint-related issues topping the list of specific health concerns, followed by eye-related and heart-related issues.

Fear of Aging

Only 28 percent of Asia Pacific consumers expressed confidence in their ability to age healthily. The survey results indicate that consumers in Malaysia (44 percent) were generally more confident.

Across the different demographic groups, younger consumers such as the Boomers+ (57 percent), Millennials (43 percent) and Generation Z (41 percent) displayed greater confidence in their ability to age healthily as compared to their older Generation X (39 percent) counterpart.

The fear of falling ill due to lower immunity emerged as the top aging-related worry.

  • Two in five (36 percent) respondents worry about falling ill due to lower immunity as they age.
  • One in five (24 percent) worry that visible signs of aging will change their appearance.
  • One in ten (10 percent) fear that they might become less independent as the body becomes weaker.

Regarding the potential aging-related effects that consumers will experience:

  • 57 percent of respondents believe that they would experience a decrease in mental acuity;
  • 43 percent believe that they would most likely suffer from chronic or acute illnesses or ailments;
  • 38 percent believe that they will participate in fewer physical activities and be physically weaker as they grow older.

Taking Steps Towards Healthy Aging

Nonetheless, the majority of Malaysian consumers understand the importance of healthy aging, with nearly nine in 10 consumers (88 percent) having taken steps to help age healthily. The steps taken include:

  • Making better nutrition choices (79 percent).
  • Engaging in more regular physical activities (56 percent).
  • Engaging in mentally-stimulating activities or hobbies (54 percent).
  • Going for more regular health check-ups (50 percent).
  • Taking supplements that promote healthy aging (48 percent).

Across the demographic groups, a larger proportion (93 percent) of older consumers such as the Boomer+ have taken steps towards healthy aging as compared to their younger Generation X (87 percent), Millennial (87 percent) and Generation Z counterparts (87 percent).

“While growing older is inevitable, active steps can be taken to help us age healthily. Simply by having the right nutritional habits accompanied by regular physical activities, we are on the right track for healthy aging,” said Steven.

Read also: Herbalife Nutrition Study Reveals Malaysian Consumers Gain an Average of 3 KGs Around Chinese New Year