An interesting new study by The Philips Index for Health and Well-Being says most Thais feel they are happy and healthy and have good relationships with their families, friends and co-workers. Sixty percent said they were healthy or very healthy.
As a westerner who has lived in Thailand on and off for years, I can attest to that. In fact, I would say most Thais I know are far happier than most westerners I know and seem much healthier, both physically and mentally. They don’t dwell on problems or get stressed about things they cannot change, eat healthy food, and love spending time with family and friends.
A refreshing change when you come from the west.
One main reason Thais are healthier than many westerners is obvious. There is far less of a problem with obesity in Thailand. Obesity that, in the west, leads to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In Thailand, most Thais are thin or very thin, and also eat a much healthier diet than do westerners.
Where westerners rely on fast food, junk food, and processed food for many of their meals, even though that is all readily available in Thailand, Thais still eat traditional Thai dishes (rice, vegetables, a small amount of meat, lots of fruit) for most of their meals.
Many westerners I know also say they eat far healthier in Thailand than they do back home. Simply because fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, chicken and other health foods are readily available everywhere, as are delicious Thai meals cooked from scratch.
Healthy food in Thailand is also incredibly cheap.
Hopefully, the information The Philips Index for Health and Well-Being is reporting about Thailand will remain steady from year to year, with Thais sticking to traditional food and not the high levels of junk food and processed food so many westerners eat. It would be a shame to see Thais go down the same self-destructive path so many westerners have gone down as, once they do, it will be difficult to reverse the trend.
You can download the full Philips’ Index for Health and Well-Being Global Index report on the health agency’s website.