83% OF PROSUMERS BELIEVE FOOD IS AS EFFECTIVE AS MEDICINE IN MAINTAINING ONE’S OVERALL HEALTH.
The relationship between humans and their health is evolving as new tools and increased access to information are enabling each of us to assess, monitor, and better preserve our own health and that of our families. Much that once was controlled by medical authorities is now in the hands of individuals. Simultaneously, medical advances and longer life spans mean that dying is increasingly perceived less as a fate to be accepted than as a failure of disease management. In the case of many of the most common diseases, how we choose to live our lives plays at least as great a role as heredity or chance. And that changes everything about how people regard, prevent, and treat physical disorders.
We are in the midst of a revolution in attitudes toward health—led by Prosumers and with important implications for brands both within and outside the healthcare arena. People today are far better informed and engaged in their health than were consumers in the past. And they are looking for brand partners to play a supportive role in their wellness quests, offering them not only effective and convenient products and tools but also little “nudges” that push them in a healthier direction every day. For this study, Havas surveyed 7,213 adults in 19 countries.
Key findings include:
People are feeling a heightened sense of control. A majority of the global sample (56%)—believe they have some or even a lot of control over illness in general. Drilling down into specific ailments, we found that at least half believe they can control, at least in part, whether they become obese, contract a sexually transmitted disease, or develop diabetes, depression, or heart disease.
A new notion of responsibility is developing. The perceived ability to control many disorders brings with it a greater sense of responsibility. This is exacerbated by the escalating financial burden of healthcare on individuals, communities, and governments. As healthcare costs continue to rise, wellness is no longer judged solely as a personal matter but also as a communal concern. As a consequence, “reckless” health behaviors are increasingly being punished.
We are seeing an intensified focus on brain health. Consumers are showing increased interest in the care, exercise, and feeding of their brains, not least because the ancient notion of a link between mind and body is enjoying a comeback. Most people surveyed believe powerful thoughts can help heal a person, and many actually believe that most illness is psychosomatic—in other words, it is all in our heads.
Diet is seen as a key weapon in the fight for longer life. Food has always been an important weapon in our health-maintenance arsenals, but now it is more top-of-mind, thanks to the rise of so-called “superfoods.” Most people say they are much more aware today of the nutritional/health value of the foods they eat than they used to be and believe that food is as effective as medicine in maintaining one’s overall health. The downside: Few trust the food industry to provide them with healthful food.