These Wellness Topics Are a Top Priority for Nations Recovering From COVID

Though the United States might still be dealing with high COVID-19 rates, nations that had a more effective response to the pandemic are already moving on to the recovery stage. Seeing what they focus on as they rebuild their economy can provide insight into ways of successfully handling the later stages of the pandemic. It turns out that many Asian countries are putting a new focus on wellness. As they move forward, there are a few key ways that governments are looking to improve nationwide health and wellness.

Economists Find That Improved Wellbeing Leads to Better Economic Recovery

A recently released report by economists at the Asian Development Bank found that economic recovery was closely tied to wellbeing. This research identified several wellness measures and then looked at how the wellness measures affected the economy and general COVID recovery. Ultimately, the report concluded the governments who took the time to invest in the wellness of their citizens could expect a faster economic recovery overall.

By doubling wellness spending from $11 to $22, companies can improve workers' happiness by 0.15 units on a scale of one to 10. This might sound like a small number, but it can end up drastically increasing productivity. In addition to resulting in better workplace efficiency, wellness measures also lower the amount of money that the government spends on healthcare. By having to spend less to take care of citizens and employees, larger organizations can save billions.

Nationwide Programs for Improving Wellness Through Diet and Nutrition

So how do nations actually improve the wellness of all their citizens? One of the most immediately effective options is programs that improve diet and nutrition. Currently, people with lower incomes are the most likely to turn to processed foods high in sugar, trans fats, and preservatives. This group is also the most likely to suffer from health problems, so assisting them with nutrition may prove particularly effective. Encouraging people to choose a healthier diet can be done through multiple methods.

In some Asian nations, governments are working to improve awareness about dietary health. Programs that teach nutrition to young children and provide tips for healthy and easy meals can assist people with making smarter choices. Some regions are taking things a step farther and putting high taxes on sugary beverages and tobacco products. Though there is some disagreement about whether this should be the government's responsibility, it is definitely effective. Studies have found that areas with sugar taxes consume far less sugary and unhealthy options after the taxes were implemented.

Ways Public Infrastructure Can Enhance Wellness

Governments may also be able to improve overall wellness indirectly by changing infrastructure. Right now, millions of people live in areas where there are no safe or enjoyable physical exercise opportunities. By providing more walkways, hiking trails, bicycle lanes, and parks, governments can encourage people to spend more time moving around.

The creation of public recreation centers and sporting facilities can also provide safe, healthy pastimes for people in many regions. Taking the time to invest public funding in these sorts of structures can be a great way of promoting wellness for the general population. Though it is not feasible everywhere, transitioning from a car-based society to a pedestrian society has been shown to improve longevity and overall health.

Universal Healthcare As a Way of Promoting Wellness

Many of the leading Asian nations already have public healthcare, but even ones that do not are starting to discuss it in the wake of the pandemic. Financing universal health care for a country is quite a challenge. It often involves united effort from various political branches and an extensive rework of budgets and current healthcare systems.

However, research shows that it is definitely worth the effort. Studies have found that getting universal healthcare reduces the number of sick days by 34 percent. The overall improvement of productivity gains for businesses far outweighs healthcare expenditure. In addition to basic economic benefits, it also improves mortality rates for a population. In the wake of COVID-19, more and more regions are starting to consider universal healthcare as a way of improving overall wellbeing and economic recovery.

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