“Wealth” is a word associated with material possessions and financial assets. While it can bring about a sense of security and comfort, one’s wealth can also have a significant impact on overall health.
Studies have shown that there is a strong positive correlation between wealth and mental-physical wellness. Here’s how wealth impacts our health, and why it is important to prioritise financial well-being.
The prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer has been increasing over the years.
According to the health ministry, noncommunicable diseases accounted for 71% of all deaths in the world in 2019, and physical inactivity is a significant risk factor for these diseases.
Therefore, it is crucial to encourage people, regardless of socioeconomic status, to engage in regular physical activity to prevent the onset of such diseases.
Wealthier individuals tend to exercise more frequently and vigorously than those who are not as financially stable. They are also more likely to have access to resources such as gym memberships, personal trainers, and healthier food options.
In contrast, those with lower incomes may have limited access to these resources and may be more likely to engage in behaviours such as smoking and consuming a diet high in processed foods.
Financial stress is a common source of anxiety and depression, particularly in individuals who struggle to make ends meet.
According to a survey cited by the communications and digital ministry, financial problems are among the top causes of stress among Malaysians. Such stress can be chronic and long-lasting.
Additionally, individuals who struggle financially may have limited access to mental health resources, which can exacerbate their conditions.
Conversely, wealth can provide a sense of security and stability, which can promote psychological well-being. Having financial resources allows individuals with the means to access mental health resources when needed.
In Malaysia, mental health remains a taboo topic, and many may not want to seek help due to social stigma. Therefore, promoting monetary literacy can help reduce the negative impact of financial stress.
Happiness and contentment
While it is often said that money cannot buy happiness, research suggests there is a positive correlation between wealth and life satisfaction.
A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that those with higher incomes reported higher levels of life satisfaction. This contradicts the belief that money only provides happiness up to a certain point but not
Having financial capacity can also provide individuals with the means to pursue their passions and hobbies, in turn further contributing to their happiness. For example, those who are passionate about travel may do so more frequently.
In contrast, those who struggle financially may have to forgo their passions and hobbies due to financial constraints.
Ease of access
Wealthier individuals tend to have access to resources such as nutritious or organic foods, quality healthcare, and safe living environments, which can contribute to better health outcomes.
They would also be able to pay for insurance that, in turn, alleviates stress from loss of income from an accident or illness.
On the other hand, those of lower socioeconomic status may face constraints that limit their access to such resources, leading to poorer health outcomes.
Lifestyle factors such as exercise and diet also play a significant role in health outcomes and can be influenced by socioeconomic status.
Therefore, addressing income inequality and promoting access to wellness resources can mitigate the negative health impact caused by socioeconomic status.