Tue, Sep 04, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Taipei offers healthy, but stressed life

CAPITAL GAINS:While more than 38 percent of city residents said their jobs caused them concern, statistics show they have a better living environment

Staff writer, with CNA

Taipei is one of the five healthiest cities or counties in which to live in Taiwan, even though its percentage of stressed residents is also the highest in the country, according to a survey recently published by CommonWealth Magazine.

Aside from the nation’s capital, Chiayi City, Yilan County, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung also received high overall ratings.

In contrast, Pingtung, Yunlin and Nantou counties, along with Keelung, were given the lowest ratings, the poll showed.

The survey rated the nation’s cities and counties according to 31 indicators, such as the incidence of infectious diseases, the suicide rate and the mortality rate from chronic diseases, in four categories: health, lifestyle, environmental friendliness and health policies.

In terms of environmental friendliness, Taipei ranked first among the administrative regions surveyed. However, it only rated fourth in terms of the overall health of its residents, with 38.2 percent of respondents in Taipei saying they “frequently or always feel stressed.”

Apart from the outlying counties of Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang, all other cities and counties have about 20 percent of people who feel stressed. Job-related concerns were cited as the major source of stress at 35.6 percent, followed by financial issues, which accounted for 33.1 percent.

Taipei ranked only 17th in its execution of health policies. The low percentage of the city’s residents who receive medical exams — 20 percent — played a role in the low ranking, the magazine said.

In the lifestyle category, Taipei and Chiayi cities topped the list, while Miaoli, Hualien, Nantou, Yunlin and Hsinchu counties, along with New Taipei City (新北市) and Keelung, came in last.

Health of the nation

‧ Taipei, Chiayi City and Yilan County among those rated healthiest in the survey.

‧ Pingtung, Yunlin and Nantou counties among those given lowest ratings.

‧ Job-related concerns are the major source of stress.

‧ Yunlin County’s 700,000 residents suffer from exposure to pollution from Formosa Plastics Group’s naphtha cracker project.

Keelung, Hualien, Taitung and New Taipei City have the highest smoking rate. Meanwhile, the number of people who chew betel nut increased by 298 percent in Penghu County compared with a year ago, the survey said.

The magazine said that while the government allocates subsidies in accordance with the population of each city and county, it leaves the respective needs of the administrative regions and the differences in health risks out of the equation.

The publication cited Yunlin County as an example, saying that the county’s 700,000 residents receive limited resources, but suffer great health risks because they are exposed to the pollution caused by Formosa Plastics Group’s naphtha cracker project in Mailiao (麥寮).

The magazine conducted the survey from July 12 to Aug. 13 and collected 14,374 valid samples. The survey had a margin of error of minus or plus 3.1 to 4.4 percentage points.

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