While a growing proportion of the world's population is pursuing a healthy, simple lifestyle and trying to safeguard a sustainable ecosystem, are Taiwanese doing their bit?
A recent study showed that although people here are generally aware of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle, they often fail to put it into practice.
The Chinese-language Common Health magazine yesterday released the results of its survey of 10,225 people in 25 cities and counties nationwide about their practice of LOHAS, which stands for "lifestyle of health and sustainability."
LOHAS believers, according to US sociologist Paul Ray, who published a book in 1998 defining the group, "take their family's and their own health and environmental responsibility into consideration when they make purchases."
The survey, conducted between the end of June and the middle of last month showed 77 percent of the interviewees were anti-smoking, 61 percent of them would report pollution if they found any and 43 percent of them said they are willing to spend more money on environmentally friendly detergents.
However, only 25 percent of them would bring their own chopsticks when dining out and only 24 percent of them had recently volunteered for community work, according to the study.
The magazine's editor-in-chief Li Se (李瑟) said at a press conference yesterday that there may still be an obvious gap between "knowing" and "practicing" LOHAS in Taiwan.
Region-wise, people living in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung cities are the most dedicated followers of LOHAS, the survey said.
In terms of physical health, Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung residents also topped the survey Li said.
Taipei residents consume the largest amounts of vegetables and fruit, are the least obese and have the lowest percentage of betel nut chewers, she said.
As for people's attitude toward smoking, nearly 70 percent of interviewees said they minded having smokers sitting near them in a restaurant and nearly 80 percent of them approved of legislation to ban smoking in all restaurants.
People in Nantou, Taichung and Ilan counties were found to be the least anti-smoking, the survey said.
Li said that although Taipei residents seemed to have the healthiest lifestyles, they used their air-conditioners the most, followed by people in Taipei County.
Interviewees in Yunlin, Nantou and Chiayi counties were the most environmentally friendly in terms of using air-conditioners, she added.
Tainan Mayor Hsu Tai-tsai (許添財) was the best LOHAS practitioner among the leaders of the areas in the survey, followed by Changhua County Commissioner Cho Po-yuan (卓伯源), Taoyuan County Commissioner Chu Li-lun (朱立倫) and Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (