Health is a key concern in today’s society. We know there is a correlation between health and life expectancy and the importance of taking care of our body. Yet 25% of the UK population is obese (source: NHS).
What are the key trends and attitudes to health in today’s society?
Although there is a proven correlation between lifestyle and some serious illnesses, it seems that for Brits, feeling fit is more important than preventing those illnesses.
According to Mintel, 48% of them say they follow a healthy lifestyle because they feel generally unfit, ahead of wanting to improve their appearance (45%) and preventing future illnesses (37%).
46% of Brits say they follow healthy habits most of the time (Mintel).
The key part of this is the fact that people find a healthy lifestyle and balanced eating more valuable than dieting. 55% of Brits agree that well-balanced meals are better for them than following a fad diet (source: Mintel).
The increase in Yoga practice (working on being balanced and relaxed more than making you lose weight) and avocado being the poster-child of clean eating (despite its high fat content) support this trend.
WeightWatchers understood this well as they chose to move from a sole-focus on diet towards healthy living, showing benefits that go beyond weight loss.
It is also key for Brits to not only count calories but see real, tangible health benefits and make sure they get their nutrients in. According to TGI data, 51% try to include plenty of fibre in their diet, 33% make sure they eat five fruits and vegetables per day and only 26% think of the calories in what they eat.
Capitalising upon this, MyFitnessPal is one of the many fitness apps available. Used by 85 million people worldwide (source: The Guardian), it allows users to achieve a goal weight by setting objectives in the amount of calories needed per day as well as proteins, vitamins and other macros.
Fitness related social media channels are not the only ones driving this trend. 24% of Brits looked up advice on health websites (Source: Mintel). Instagram and YouTube have both contributed to the spread of health benefit messages – 14% watched health and fitness videos (Source: Mintel).
Bloggers are increasingly influential. Notable examples are the vlogger ‘Deliciouslyella’, who offers healthy recipe videos and has 60K followers on her YouTube channel and 651K on her Instagram account, or the personal trainer Kayla Itsines who created a program to get in shape and has 4M followers on her Instagram page providing workout as well as nutrition tips.
These individuals manage to create unique relationships with users through proximity making them more believable than brands or institutions to communicate health messages. They also manage to create real communities of empowered consumers.
Working out is seen as a key part of health as 66% of Brits say that exercising and healthy eating are equally important for staying in shape (Mintel).
Exercising is also the top way that people look after their health (64% of them) ahead of limiting smoking (61%) and eating fruit and vegetables (54%).
We asked our YourVoice community about health, sport and exercise and saw this to be true:
‘I run three times a week as I’m training for a half marathon. I also love going to a spinning class at my local gym. I decided to get fit after a number of years being lazy. I joined a gym to gain muscle and started running.’
Jason, 45-54 years old
‘I go to the gym 5 times a week […] I started going to the gym to put some muscle on’.
Dan, 18 -34 years old
So there is a real need for brands to reassure about health benefits but specifically the way in which it is experienced by people. This includes communicating about nutrition, well-being and a balanced lifestyle and thinking beyond illnesses and appearance.
As an example of this, McDonald’s partnered with the vlogger Doug Amstrong and showed the production process of a burger to prove the quality of its meat and reassure users of the ingredients in the food served. This aimed to deliver on holistic health – not just calories.