Wed, 05 Apr 2000

'Health Today' offers tips for better living

JAKARTA (JP): A new health magazine hit the newsstands in Indonesia in April. Health Today joins a number of other titles aimed at providing Indonesians the advice and guidance they need to live physically, emotionally and mentally healthy lives.

Health magazines are clearly aimed at Indonesia's middle- class, which, despite the recent economic troubles, must be quite substantial considering that Health Today, the newest entrant in the market, already claims two million readers.

Could the appearance of another health magazine herald a new health trend among those Indonesians able to afford the luxury. Can we expect a mushrooming of health clubs, gyms and juice bars? Probably not.

But while Indonesia has not yet reached the same level of obsession as America in exercising and eating healthily (although, for some reason, Americans continue to get fatter and fatter), a substantial number of Indonesians have begun to take their health seriously.

For many, particularly residents of Jakarta, the battle to stay healthy can prove a losing one. From the pollution and stress of life in the teeming capital to the ready availability of junk food, not to mention cigarettes and after-work cocktails, the road to health is littered with land mines.

Those who have no experience in leading a healthy lifestyle need somewhere to turn to for advice in changing a lifetime of bad habits into healthy ones. Which is the niche magazines such as Health Today are trying to fill. Publications such as this offer tips on health, nutrition, fitness, parenting, beauty and grooming, emotional well-being and first aid, as well as articles on everything from disease to inspirational people who have triumphed in their health battles.

While it may be too much to hope that jogging will soon, if ever, replace chain-smoking as Indonesia's favorite pastime, the increasing awareness of health issues among Indonesians is an encouraging trend. It can only be hoped that as the country continues to recover from the economic crisis which laid it low, more and more Indonesians will be able to turn their attention to leading healthier, and thus longer, lives.

-- David Eyerly