Healthy but lazy in the Philippines?

January 22, 2007 at 7:27 am 2 comments

April (MindShare Philippines) writes: 

Recently, while doing some analysis of our 3D research database for a client, we noticed something interesting. There seemed to be something amiss about Filipinos attitudes towards health and their health habits. While many said that they were conscious about their health, a noticeably smaller percentage would actually do things to promote good health. They wouldn’t stop smoking, they wouldn’t eat healthy food, they wouldn’t go to the gym.  It took some time for me to realize that the reason this seemed amiss is that I was going by what is generally a Western model of health: thin and heading to the gym. This is not how many Filipinos see it. In fact, a whole lot of us – especially outside Metro Manila – will say “You’re getting fat!” and mean it as a great compliment.  

If our clients want to effectively use health as a motivator for the market, then we need to get a better, more thorough, and more culturally-relevant meaning of health for the Filipino. We’re looking to launch a study into this soon, so we’ll share the findings when it’s done!

Entry filed under: philippines.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. pt  |  February 12, 2007 at 5:41 am

    interesting thoughts on health… there is indeed a dichotomy when it comes to what one thinks and believes to be true and factual, and what one does. attitude research in psychology – and in fact, the whole of cognitive psychology – has been trying to link the two together in the past few years – attitude to behaviors. milgram’s obedience studies, for example, are a true example of this dichotomy. my uni thesis also tried to get a glimpse of this “gap” between what is though and what is actually done.

    i am not sure about the compliment – “you’re getting fat”. but i think our history (yeah, i am filipino :)) might shed light on that. we’ve always had to circumvent problems – and having a well-rounded physique was seen to be an expression of having no problems. perhaps this history of scarcity during the spanish, the japanese, and the american – and i’d venture to guess that until now (in spite of the proclamations of economic health by the current government) – we still are a culture that is hinged on scarcity – that “you’re getting fat” is equivalent to saying “you’re doing fine” or “you seem to be doing better these days”. (as for me, anybody who gives me that “compliment” would probably end up in the doctor’s office. haha.)

    cool stuff.

  • 2. pinoyHP  |  April 23, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Oddly enough, I just read a news article about a recent study that shows 700,000 Filipino families in the USA are without medical benefits and 40% haven’t seen a doctor in 3 or more years.

    But when surveyed regarding healthy, active lifestyle, nearly all said they have no intention of starting or participating in an exercise program.



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