JUDD JONES: Popularity of health and wellness in 2018

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This week, I would like to send all of you the blessing of health and wellness for 2018. The new year is knocking on the door and many of us have much to look forward to in this coming year.

2018 could be the year... the year health and wellness becomes the overriding trend for the vast majority of people around the world. 2018 and beyond is an exciting time in the world of health and wellness. Over the last three years, a number of mainstream research companies have compiled health and wellness surveys from over 60 countries, and the statistics are showing a global movement toward overall wellness and it is picking up momentum.

When we talk about wellness becoming trendy and fashionable, we need to understand that wellness comes in all shapes and sizes. For example, it is no secret that gym memberships increased from roughly 30 million members in 2000 to nearly 60 million members in 2017. Wellness through nutrition has seen a massive surge in people eating better whole foods, curbing sugar intake and reducing carbohydrate intake. Wellness comes in the form of more daily steps, increased activity, yoga, holistic living practices and so much more. The net result is a global shift in how people are taking better care of themselves.

With so much research and statistical evidence, it seems the future may, in fact, look bright with the masses embracing self-care and true whole body wellness. The shift in global awareness to seek a state of wellness is becoming mainstream from third world countries to industrialized nations. People all over the world are waking up to the reality that health care starts with each of us taking better care of ourselves. It is not a stretch that many people have concluded that the best way to control health care costs is to keep themselves healthy, happy and in balance.

It should not be a surprise to see 2018 become the pivot year for an in-depth culture- driven movement to make wellness fashionable. Making health and wellness trendy and stylish is a big money business and Madison Avenue, Hollywood and multinational corporations are acutely aware of the profits potential. The world of health and wellness self-care products and services is starting to compete with the giants of health care, big Pharma or health insurance companies. The health and wellness industry of fitness, organic nutrition, and other services has a net worth of almost 4 trillion dollars. With this type of money driving health and wellness self-care, it is no wonder it has caught the eye, glitz and the glamour of sizable multinational marketing and social media engineering to build wellness around the brand, lifestyle choices, and services.

Before you jump to the conclusion that this movement of profiting from a wellness culture is wrong and even a little disturbing, we should take a look back at how we fashionably made our way to poor health. Many of our most significant health problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes came from culture shifts delivered in glitzy magazines, mass marketing, and social engineering. Think back to the big and, at the time, glamorized notion of smoking cigarettes, sugar, fast food, overindulgence on a global scale. Sometimes we need to embrace irony in that the same socioeconomic engine that drove poor health choices back in the day is now riding a cultural movement toward wellness as a status symbol.

I think we should expect both good and bad news for health and wellness markets as they become trendy and fashionable. With the good comes an ability to bring more people on the road to improved health in giving them more options and access to beneficial products and services. On the wrong side of the health and wellness coin, expect to see products and services misrepresented and the ubiquitous snake oil remedies that follow have followed trends through the centuries.

Some may argue that culturally we should not continue to chase body images, but to a degree, pursuing body image certainly has an upside. It drives people to eat healthier, exercise more and develop healthier habits.

People also realize that healthier nutrition may very well be their primary way out of autoimmune diseases, obesity and chronic illnesses. Exercise, although significant, is in fact secondary to a nutritionally sound fresh whole foods diet that nourishes your body and keeps us vital.

Another area of expanded health awareness that is coming is in the field of our gut biome. Many of you have heard me state that 70 percent of our immune system is in our digestive tract. New research has found that the different good gut bacteria can influence mental development in children, increase an athlete’s ability to convert energy to fuel their efforts and help the body heal from certain autoimmune conditions.

Let’s not forget perhaps the most essential shift in health and wellness, and that is taking care of our minds. One of the most exciting aspects of trending wellness is with the growing number of people finding their way to mental clarity. In our information overload society, there is a movement toward the better understanding of neuroscience, effects of improper sleep, too much stress and the use of different forms of meditation practices to find balance. Bringing true wellness to our mental state has a way to go to be better understood. The great news about bringing stability to our imbalanced psychological health is the fact that this field of research is advancing rapidly, leaving a lot of room for growth in finding peace of mind.

I think we should view 2018 with hopeful optimism that the world, as fragmented as it may be, is becoming a little healthier and the future of wellness does look bright.

•••

Judd Jones is a director for The Hagadone Corporation and Certified Health Coach.

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