Aetna International has released a report which says expats in Thailand are leading healthier lives and actively taking control of their physical health during the current COVID-19 pandemic. However many say they are struggling with their mental health due to the coronavirus.
The data has been revealed in the Expat Experiences Survey 2020, published by international health benefits provider, Aetna International.
The report, which surveyed 1,000 expats in the UK, the U.S., China, Thailand, Singapore and the UAE, explores the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has had on expat health and wellbeing; addressing both mental and physical health.
Overall 56.3% of the respondents agreed that, if they had the option, they would prefer to be in their own country during the pandemic. Thailand had the highest number of expats who would prefer to be home at this time, at 71%.
Thailand is named as the most affected nation for mental health issues with 50% of expats reporting an impact. Considering the low COVID-19 death rates, this may be related to the heavy reliance on tourism.
The good news is that nearly 60% of participants admitted to eating more healthily since the pandemic, with only 21% eating less healthy. Thailand takes the crown here with 80% of expats claiming to be eating more healthily.
Another positive result showed that 43% of participants are exercising more with 27% of people drinking less alcohol and only 18% drinking more. A badge of honour for Thailand’s expats is the survey says that they are exercising more than the other countries with 57% (versus the average of 30% in other regions).
The pandemic has impacted expat mental health whether they had suffered from existing issues or not. The urge of any to return home shows just how important support and local connectivity is during a crisis. However despite its negative impact, many expats have wisely taken the opportunity to implement healthier habits.