Health Tech Booms, Social Bonds Strain: ICICI Lombard’s Wellness Index Maps India’s Well-being

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Health Tech Booms, Social Bonds Strain: ICICI Lombard’s Wellness Index Maps India’s Well-being
Health Tech Booms, Social Bonds Strain: ICICI Lombard’s Wellness Index Maps India’s Well-being
  • Health tech adoption has witnessed a robust increase across demographics.

  • The data underscores a heightened stress level and mental health challenges, with every third Indian displaying at least one stress symptom.

Bengaluru, December 19, 2023: ICICI Lombard General Insurance, one of India’s leading general insurers, today unveiled the much-anticipated 2023 edition of the India Wellness Index, a comprehensive reflection of the nation’s health and well-being. The report, which, in its sixth year of operation, has become a cornerstone in assessing the nation’s well-being, highlights the digital revolution in healthcare and the intricate role of social media in shaping India’s wellness landscape in recent years.

India’s Wellness Index measures wellbeing and quantifies the current state of wellness among people on multiple wellness pillars simultaneously. The index, standing at 72 out of 100, suggests that while there is an uptick in digital well-being and health tech utilization, social wellness in how individuals, especially women, engage within their communities is decreasing.

The one-of-a kind, tech-enabled wellness index by ICICI Lombard comes through a holistic framework that comprises six pillars of well-being: physical, mental, family, financial, workplace, and social. The study canvassed 2,052 respondents across 19 cities, emphasizing the variances across age groups, genders, geographies, and degrees of employability. This year’s study highlights the growing reliance on digital platforms for wellness, a trend that has been catalyzed by the virtual push received during the lockdown and is now becoming a mainstay in the pursuit of well-being.

Sheena Kapoor, Head Marketing, Corporate Communications & CSR, ICICI Lombard, said, “Our Wellness Index provides pivotal insights into the evolving digital wellness sphere and the health challenges of our time. The findings propel our commitment to innovating insurance solutions that address these emerging needs. This year’s index reveals the digital embrace in the wellness sector, with more individuals turning to health tech and social media for well-being insights and solutions. Social media is looked up by respondents as an important source for mental and physical wellness, with 45% saying that they access motivational content on these platforms that helps overall wellness of the body and mind. However, the decline in social wellness is a call to action, emphasizing the need for more community-centric initiatives.”

Kapoor further highlighted, “Spending quality time with family sees a decline among working women, leading to a decreased feeling of well-being, with only 53% of women claiming they spend quality time with their families and community in 2023, compared to 64% in 2022. This resonates with interactive sessions from the study, reflecting the challenges faced by working women in maintaining a balance between work and personal life.”

Key takeaways from the 2023 study include:

Digital Well-Being Takes Centre Stage

In the era of health tech and social media convergence, ICICI Lombard’s report illuminates the significant adoption of health technologies across various cohorts. A surge in social media usage for wellness, particularly concerning physical and mental health, reflects a transformative shift. The era of ‘Fin-fluencers’ is upon us, with a growing number of Indians turning to platforms like Facebook and YouTube over traditional business media for investment advice.

  • A whopping 70% of Indians use social media for expressing or talking about physical or mental wellness.
  • Social media is looked up by respondents as an important source for mental and physical wellness, with 45% saying that they access motivational content on these platforms that helps overall wellness of the body and mind.
  • Not just social media platforms, the wellness index is higher among people using fitness tracking products (72%) and those who are not (54%).

Social Wellness: A Declining Trend

A concerning dip in social wellness is underscored, with all pillars—awareness, action, and influence—showing a notable decrease. The decline is pronounced among women and residents of Tier 1 towns, revealing a pressing need for initiatives to bolster community engagement.

  • Social wellness fell by 3% in 2023 overall, with the highest decline among working women.
  • Reasoning the decline, the resumption of complete work-from-office might have a role to play.
  • Spending quality time with family sees a decline among working women, leading to a decreased sense of wellbeing, with only 53% of women claiming they spent quality time with their families and community in 2023, compared to 64% in 2022.

The Youth: Young, Stressed, and Overworked

Alarmingly, the younger generations, especially Gen Z and Millennials, report higher levels of anxiety, lack of stamina, and obesity, underscoring the urgency for targeted health interventions.

  • The report revealed that 77% of Indians experience at least one symptom of stress on a regular basis. This number is even higher in the case of Gen-Z and Millennials.
  • The decline in workplace wellness has played into the grim situation, with around 3 in 4 Gen Zs saying that they feel guilty because they are unable to make time for everything they want, feel exhausted early in the week, and frequently think about work after work hours.

Increasing focus on India’s heart health

The Index sheds light on the prevalence of chronic ailments, with approximately 35% of respondents battling diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, or hypertension.

  • Gen X appears to bear the brunt of these conditions, often inheriting serious health concerns from their parents.
  • Cardiovascular health remains a critical area, with only 35% of respondents able to correctly identify all risk factors, indicating a dire need for heightened awareness.
  • Additionally, 77% of Indians are aware of health problems that can be linked to heart ailments.

India’s changed perspective towards mental health

The index exposes a stark reality: every third person is grappling with stress. The incidence of stress and depression symptoms is rising, with those affected experiencing significantly lower mental wellness.

  • Mental wellness continues to be the second most important attribute in determining wellness, with a 2% fall compared to 2022.
  • Tier 1 cities perform significantly better on mental wellness compared to all other zones.
  • Awareness on ways to cope with stress and influence strongly by talks see’s substantial decline in 2023.
  • For Indians, family and friends continue to be the important pillars for confiding about depression, with only 1 out of every 3 individuals facing depression symptoms taking professional help.

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