Expats enjoy health boost: study

New research has found that most expats believe that their physical and mental health has improved since moving abroad.

The research, released recently by insurance firm AXA PPP International, found that 61 per cent of respondents felt their physical health was better than it would have been had they stayed in their home country. Moreover, 64 per cent believe their mental health has improved following relocation.

What’s more, 86 per cent of those who moved abroad primarily for better healthcare said that all their expectations had been filled.

“Following your dream can be very good for mental health and wellbeing,” explains Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services for AXA PPP.  “If you’ve always imagined you would one day go and live abroad, the chances are you are likely to get a great sense of satisfaction and happiness on achieving this. What’s more, a lot of countries experience better weather than here in the UK. This leads to a more active and outdoor lifestyle, which as we know contributes greatly to overall better health.”

However, Dr Winwood warns that expats need to make sure they are prepared for any challenges. “A lot of people get caught up in the adventure of living overseas and don’t realistically consider the everyday practicalities of living somewhere new,” he says. “It’s good to be excited about your new life but also really important to think about how that will play out in reality. Make sure you do your research and carefully consider where you want to live – not just the country but the location too; how connected are you to main transport routes, where are the local amenities, what schools are nearby, how will you access healthcare and are their social or expat groups you can join to meet new people?

“You don’t want to get caught out and be in a vulnerable situation in an unknown country such as a feeling of isolation for you or your family as this may well have the opposite intended effect on your health and wellbeing.”

Article published 15th November 2016