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September 21, 2017

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Taipei ranks high among list of nation's healthiest cities

TAIPEI--Taipei has been rated as 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 the results of a survey.

CommonWealth Magazine, which conducted the survey, said that in addition to the nation's capital, Chiayi City, Yilan County, Tainan and Kaohsiung also received high overall ratings.

In contrast, Pingtung, Yunlin and Nantou counties, along with Keelung City, were given the lowest ratings, according to the survey.

The survey rated Taiwan's cities and counties on 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. It was rated only fourth, however, in terms of the overall health of its residents. This index was dragged down in large part by the 38.2 percent of the respondents in Taipei who said that they "frequently or always feel stressed."

Apart from the outlying counties of Penghu, Kinmen and Lienchiang, all other cities and counties have around 20 percent of people that feel stressed. Job-related concerns were reported to be the major source of this stress at 35.6 percent, followed by financial issues, which accounted for 33.1 percent.

Taipei was ranked only 17th for its execution of health policies. The low percentage of the city's citizens 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 and Keelung, came in last.

Keelung, Hualien, Taitung and New Taipei 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 took Yunlin County as an example, saying that the 700,000 residents receive limited resources but suffer great health risks because they are exposed to the pollution caused by Formosa Plastics Group's sixth naphtha cracker project in Mailiao.

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