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March 1, 2020

AXA Health of the Nation: China 2020 Quick Facts

The inaugural AXA Health of the Nation China 2020 Report was conducted across China allowed us to gain key insights into three key areas of citizen’s wellbeing: mental health, physical health and workplace wellness. AXA surveyed 3,500 adults in 7 cities - Beijing, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Jinan, Nanjing, Shanghai and Shenzhen - between May and June 2020.

The study reveals people in China are increasingly concerned about their ability to manage their physical and mental health. Our findings come as changing demographics and lifestyle trends fuel rising rates of serious disease in China, such as diabetes and cancer. Significantly higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression were observed in individuals who also reported a higher frequency of low mood, underlining the importance of early detection and treatment of symptoms linked to more serious mind health issues.



People all over the world are focusing more on mind health than ever before, and how to support a happy and healthy lifestyle.  Poor mental health has been linked to increased risk of contracting physical diseases - anxiety and stress may be increasing people’s risk of becoming sick, creating a vicious cycle of fear, worry and correlated health problems.


Impact of COVID-19

  • Nearly 70% of people surveyed say the virus has caused them to feel anxious.Just over 70% of respondents fear becoming infected.
  • On average, 62% of respondents were also concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their family’s health.*
  • 55% are worried the virus will lower their personal income; and 51% are concerned that there are insufficient personal protection equipment available.


Four major mental health issues impacting China’s  citizens

  • Stress: Based on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 indicates no stress, and 5 indicates very stressed, just over 54% of people surveyed said that they have been stressed or very stressed in the past six months. 
  • Anxiety: Based on the same scale, an average of 47% of respondents across the 7 cities had felt anxious in the past six months.
  • Depression: From our survey, we found that on average, 45% of people have either experienced depression themselves or noticed it among their family, friends, colleagues and neighbours.
  • Low Mood: On average, citizens from all 7 geographies believed they had experienced a low mood fairly to very often more than 27% in the past six months.

Why do people feel in a low mood?

There are five key factors impacting mood:

  1. work and education, particularly putting in long hours;
  2. family or personal health issues;
  3. financial issues;
  4. relationship issues with family and friends; and
  5. a feeling of  lack of purpose in life.

Why your Mood Matters to your Health

We also found that a respondent’s physical health has a corresponding impact on their mental mood.  In the 7 cities surveyed, on average, just over 38% of people believe they have experienced a low mood in the past 6 months because of their own health or the health of family and friends. This was found to be highest in Guangzhou at 45% and lowest in Jinan at 34%.


The Diseases People Worry about Most

Respondents from all 7 cities indicated the same pattern of concern about developing diabetes, with between 19% and 25% of people believing they are at a high or very high risk of developing diabetes.

Overall, respondents felt their risk of developing cancer was slightly lower than that of developing diabetes. Respondents from the 7 cities indicated they perceived they had a 15% to 21% risk of developing cancer.

Women’s perception of three major illnesses

We looked at the three illnesses which women of all aged perceive themselves to be at most risk – breast cancer, cervical cancer and osteoporosis. Across all 7 cities, there was, in fact, little difference between the levels of worry. However, breaking it down, in Guangzhou, Jinan, Shanghai and Shenzhen, women felt that they were more at most risk of breast cancer, followed by cervical cancer and then osteoporosis. Women surveyed in Beijing and Hangzhou, on the other hand, believe that osteoporosis is their biggest risk, followed by cervical cancer and then breast cancer.


Companies across China are increasingly adopting workplace wellness programs to support their employees’ physical and mental health.

From our research, we already know that many people have been experiencing low moods over the past 11 months. We looked further into this issue and, on average, nearly 70% of people believe workplace issues are the source of these low moods. Having a heavy workload or working long hours caused a low mood in nearly one third of people over the past six months. More than a quarter of all respondents from the 7 cities said they worked outside business hours either very or fairly often.

Absenteeism and Presenteeism in the Workplace

In China, our research shows that there is a slightly higher degree of presenteeism (from 54% to 63%) than absenteeism (from 46% to 53%) in the workplace. This could be caused by a number of factors including workplaces where employees don’t feel secure at work or must deal with unbalanced workloads. We know many employers are adapting their cultures to help staff feel secure and have a more appropriate amount of work to ensure their health and productivity.

Awareness and effectiveness of workplace wellness programs

In our research we asked respondents how aware they were of their own company’s wellness programs (if they existed). The results were low, from 44% of respondents in Guangzhou down to only 32% of respondents in Hangzhou. Where wellness programs exist, there is marked enthusiasm for their benefit, with an average of 87% agreeing that they can promote both physical and mental wellbeing of employees. Just slightly lower, at an average of 83%, employees agree or totally agree that workplace wellness programs are effective and comprehensive in supporting employee mental health

AXA’s SUPPORT FOR physical and mental health

AXA’s Health of the Nation China 2020 study shows that worries about health and healthcare costs continue to impact mental wellness in China, as well as linking untreated symptoms such as low mood to the risk of serious physical and mental illness. As a leading health insurance provider in China, we are committed to partnering with our customers at every step of their healthcare journey. We not only want to tackle the symptoms of illness, but also generate good mental health through delivering peace of mind through our high-quality, value-added insurance products.


AXA is spearheading the provision of health and wellness protection products and services  for all people. We are committed to providing the same level of service for our employees and customers.

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