KENYA—Cigna Healthcare, a global leader in comprehensive health insurance coverage,  has revealed that Kenyans have the highest level of vitality out of the 12 markets analyzed in a vitality study.

Vitality is an insurance-related concept that refers to an individual’s ability to enhance their health by measures such as healthy and active lifestyles, proper nutrition, and mental health management.

Kenyan vitality, according to the global health care organization, stems from a feeling of optimism and a passion of learning, which helps to offset high levels of stress related to work and personal finances.

The Vitality Study is the first of its type to examine areas of life such as mental health, work-life balance, and familial ties.

Between May and June 2023, the Cigna Healthcare Vitality Study examined 10,800 people in the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, China, Singapore, and Hong Kong SAR.

With 35 questions to assess respondents’ social, occupational, financial, intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental well-being, eight key aspects of well-being were covered, providing a comprehensive picture of people’s ability to thrive in an organizational setting and pursue life with health, strength, and energy.

The survey assessed people’s perceptions of social, occupational, financial, intellectual, physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental well-being, giving Cigna Healthcare a holistic picture of their potential to thrive in an organizational setting and pursue life with health, strength, and energy.

The Evernorth Vitality Index, developed in collaboration with eminent clinical psychologist and author Dr. Richard Ryan using his Self-Determination Theory and Subjective Vitality Scales (SVS), served as the foundation for the research. The index measures three SVS components and eight characteristics of well-being.

According to the research, Kenyans scored 79.9, marginally ahead of Saudi Arabia (79.2) and the United Arab Emirates (77.1) but much beyond the global average of 68.

Two variables appeared to explain Kenyan vitality: 75% look forward to each new day, compared to the global average of 42%, and 84% value learning new things, versus the global average of 53%.

The study also found that, while Kenyans have a unique dynamic in their everyday lives, anticipating each new day more than anywhere else in the world, financial concerns raise their stress levels to worldwide highs.

 The Vitality Study indicated a troubling trend: 100% of respondents questioned in Kenya reported feeling burnt out, making Kenya the world leader in burnout for the second year in a row, with 100%—the highest among all global markets—compared to the global average of 94%.

Almost 73% of Kenyans attributed their stress to the cost of living, greatly exceeding the global average of 47%, and 86% of Kenyans stated that the high cost of living makes maintaining good health too expensive, much exceeding the global average of 38%.

In her speech, Leah Cotterill, Chief Distribution Officer for Cigna Healthcare Middle East, mentioned that they recognize the paradox presented in the Vitality Study, highlighting a scenario in which remarkable strides in vitality are accompanied by significant challenges in burnout, stress, and financial strain.

She went on to remark that this paradox highlights Kenya’s complex landscape of health and wellbeing, where advances in physical health are frequently counterbalanced by mental and financial health concerns.

Meanwhile, this is not the only vitality study being undertaken in Kenya. In April 2023, Vitality Health International (Africa) teamed with Lifecare International as its in-market insurer in Kenya to revolutionize the country’s health insurance offerings.

According to Vitality Health International, four main lifestyle aspects are linked to chronic illnesses: high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, which account for up to 60% of preventable deaths worldwide.

In its health insurance strategy, the company rewarded employees for participating in healthy lifestyles, such as quitting smoking and exercising more, to improve their health.

The lifestyles rewarded by Vitality Health International’s health insurance concept include a healthy diet and a commitment to avoiding alcoholism.

The Vitality Health International healthcare model also offered companies a payback of up to 10% on renewal premiums for encouraging their staff to be healthy.

Employees can also access the Vitality Health Fund, which is activated after they complete their Vitality Health Review.

The Fund increased outpatient benefits by up to US$100 based on an individual’s healthy choices and engagement with the Vitality program.

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