Sign of the Times? America’s Consumers’ Top Health Concern Is Now Anxiety
While a majority of consumers say they are proactive about their health and wellness and consider their diet to be healthy, anxiety is emblematic of our current times, reflecting a widespread sense that modern life tends to be overwhelming.
Most Americans continue to believe, in spite of their self-reported high BMIs, they are healthier than the general population. The Hartman Group’s Health + Wellness 2019: From Moderation to Mindfulness report finds that 80% of consumers believe they are of above-average health (up three points from 2017). Self-assessed comparative healthfulness peaks for younger consumers and Core wellness consumers, who do tend to have fewer health issues and weight struggles. The majority of older and less engaged consumers, however, also believe themselves to be healthier than average.
Close to two-thirds (65%) of consumers say they are proactive about their health and do things to lower health risks and prevent disease — older generations more so than younger generations. Boomers (72%) and Gen X (65%) are more intentional about their health and wellness compared to Millennials (63%) and Gen Z (53%).
The majority of consumers (57%) also consider their diet to be healthy. Half (50%) of Gen Z consumers regard their approach to eating to be healthy compared to 58% of Millennials, 55% of Gen X and 60% of Boomers.
Anxiety is emblematic of our current times, reflecting a widespread sense that modern life tends to be overwhelming.
Anxiety is an outsized fear response and for consumers is often used to describe a sense that life is overwhelming in many ways, from the big to the small. Many of the sources of our anxiety stem from information overload and are expressed as a lack of certainty and control over the future.
That palpable sense of anxiety as a major health concern has been building for many years. Now, for the first time, it has replaced being overweight as the top health condition America’s households are actively treating or preventing, according to The Hartman Group’s Health + Wellness 2019 report. The surge in the management of anxiety or stress is mostly driven by consumers preventing health conditions, especially among Millennials and now Gen Z.
Weight is still seen as a key indicator of overall health, but mental/emotional health is becoming a more prominent aspect of how consumers understand health and wellness.
As the following chart shows, close to two-thirds of consumers (63%) are either treating or preventing anxiety or stress compared to 61% of consumers treating or preventing being overweight.
Remedies for Treating/Preventing Conditions
Exercise provides a one-two punch as both a physical and mental health remedy and is the treatment of choice for anxiety and stress. Food or beverage combined with exercise is the preferred remedy for preventing or treating being overweight.
Health + Wellness 2019: From Moderation to Mindfulness explores what’s new, what’s mainstream, and what’s around the bend in the world of health and wellness. Many measures are trended over time and show significant change over the past 3-5 years, including foods and ingredients consumers are seeking or avoiding, supplement usage, conditions managed, and even what health and wellness itself means. The report also includes a special focus on cannabis for health and wellness, exploring consumers’ attitudes, usage occasions, and reasons for using cannabis from a health and wellness perspective.