NEW YORK—Americans’ increasing concern for health and wellness has led to less reliance on medications, increased vitamin purchases and a more holistic view of health overall, according to a new study by shopper insights consultancy WSL.
The study, “The Wellness Uprising," shows people of all ages and income levels cite stress (47 percent) as their number one health concern and are adopting strategies to live healthier lives. For example, on average, more than half of Americans (57 percent) are eating less fast food, 46 percent less sweets, 41 percent less saturated fats, 33 percent less sodium and 27 percent less caffeine.
"People are changing their dietary habits, eating less 'bad' foods and cooking more 'good' foods, two growing trends which will have a major impact on every type of business, especially those that involve food, exercise and healthcare," said Wendy Liebmann, CEO, WSL. “What began in the recent recession as an economic necessity has become a more holistic approach to being well every day."
“Wellness Uprising" Findings:
Nearly half of Americas feel their health is excellent (42 percent) or very good (32 percent). On average, 85 percent of Americans are confident they know how to live a healthy life.
Stress is the leading obstacle to good health (47 percent), followed by “lack of sleep" (37 percent), “not enough time to exercise" (25 percent) and “working too many hours" (17 percent).
For Baby Boomers, healthy means “able to move easily" (71 percent), “being rested" (70 percent) and “being the right weight" (68 percent).
The “look of health" is especially important to Millennials, with the most important attributes being: “glowing soft skin" (37 percent), “looking good in clothes" (34 percent), “white teeth" (31 percent) and “strong nails" (27 percent).
“A review of consumers’ ‘trusted advisors’ demonstrates that traditional wellness categories, from physicians to medications to pharmacists, are facing growing competition as people seek information and new products to promote healthier lifestyles," Liebmann added. “But all brands and retailers, from hotels to hospitals to supermarkets, have opportunities to participate in the Wellness Uprising."
The future of wellness promises a mix of old remedies and new technologies as some people adopt health maintenance apps, others turn to holistic regiments, and others rely more on themselves to deal with health issues. Millennials are leading the way with 40 percent seeing doctors less often and being more self-reliant, 39 percent taking less medication and seeking alternative treatments, and 35 percent using family or folk remedies in place of modern medications.
“How America Shops® 2014 The Wellness Uprising" is a nationwide online survey of 2,008 men and women, ages 18 and older, conducted during July and August 2014.