Taiwanese are big spenders on health food, with adults on average spending NT$1,031 (US$33.50) per month on this type of food, a survey showed yesterday.
About 85 percent of Taiwanese spent that amount to buy organic, functional food or Chinese herbs designed to promote greater health or medical benefits, in addition to purchasing basic nutritional food, the survey conducted by the Taiwan Pharmaceutical Marketing and Management Association found.
The amount spent on health food is well above the average of NT$275 per month spent by individuals to buy medicine, an indication that Taiwanese prefer consuming health food and supplements instead of taking drugs to boost their health, association officials said.
However, two-thirds of respondents said they would see a doctor whenever they suffer just a little discomfort to get prescription medicine at clinics or hospitals covered by the National Health Insurance program.
Asked why, respondents cited the following reasons: trust in the professionalism of doctors and hospitals, safety and efficacy. Respondents also said they preferred visiting a doctor because expenses are covered by the insurance program.
The number of visits per person to hospitals included in the health insurance program has risen steadily in recent years, with the average insured person going to hospitals 15 times last year.
About NT$508 billion has been allocated for the program’s expense next year.
The association carried out the random telephone survey from Sept. 13 to 24, questioning 1,074 men and women aged 20 to 65 across the country about their health and medical habits. It had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.