HEALTH

Wellness gaining traction among young, aging

BY Michael Johnsen

BELLEVUE, Wash. —Trans fat, salt and sugar—out. Products with a less-guilt-because-this-might-actually-be-good-for-you message—in.

At least that’s been the trend that has continued to gain significant traction across the marketplace over the past 10 years, according to a recent Hartman Group report titled “Reimagining Health and Wellness 2010” that was released last month.

Since 2005, spending on wellness products has grown significantly, with a higher proportion spent on wellness for fresh food categories. The average household spends $148.48 per month (or 19% of all monthly spending) on categories that have a wellness halo, The Hartman Group suggested.

But according to the report, the definition of wellness currently is undergoing a transformation, especially as more than half of all consumers (54%) reported they recently had changed their views on health and wellness, with younger consumers being more likely to have made changes in the past year, the report noted.

Younger consumers, for example, cited stress (51%) and energy levels (47%) as triggers for changing their views on health and wellness. For older demographics, it was the aging process that had them actively in search of wellness solutions. Graying baby boomers, for example, were more frequently shunning consumer packaged goods high in cholesterol, saturated fats, trans fats or salt in favor of more “fresh” fare out of concern for their heart health.

“Increased spending on products beneath a wellness umbrella, particularly in fresh categories, reflects what we have been witnessing for more than a decade now,” stated Laurie Demeritt, The Hartman Group president and COO. “Consumer understanding of wellness has moved away from traditional notions of condition treatment and disease prevention, and toward attaining a better quality of life. They are looking for products and services that help them meet their wellness goals and aspirations,” she said.

And they are not necessarily looking for those products and services at smaller, specialty health food stores, or even Whole Foods, anymore. Mass-oriented retailers have been buttressing their product mixes with healthier-for-you choices, and according to The Hartman Group survey, consumers are taking notice. “Consumers talk about the rising relevance of supercenters, [for example], because they are increasing their selection of ‘natural’ brands and products,” the report read.

Considered a complementary “tool” to optimum health and wellness, use of dietary supplements also is on the rise. This is especially the case with vitamin D—60% of surveyed adults have been actively looking to increase the amount of vitamin D in their diets.

Average monthly household wellness spending by category

Source: The Hartman Group “Reimagining Health and Wellness 2010”
CATEGORY 2010 2007 2005
Meat, poultry, seafood $20.22 $18.25 $18.31
Fruits and vegetables 16.81 12.67 14.79
Drugs and supplements 11.08 10.95 9.77
Cereals and bakery 10.73 8.46 9.08
Healthcare services 10.62 8.27 6.07
TOTAL AVG SPENDING $148.48 $115.98 $104.28

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HEALTH

The Apothecary Shops earns spot on Inc.’s fastest-growing private companies list

BY Alaric DeArment

PHOENIX Diplomat Specialty Pharmacy isn’t the only one to earn a spot on Inc. magazine’s list of the fastest-growing private companies.

The Inc. 5000 also listed specialty pharmacy The Apothecary Shops, ranking 2,394. That marked a jump of 322 spots from last year and 1,682 spots from 2008 in its fourth annual appearance on the list.

Drug Store News reported Thursday on Diplomat’s inclusion on the list.

“It’s no secret that we have undertaken a very aggressive growth strategy for The Apothecary Shops, but our approach, particularly in a down economy, has been targeted and strategic to be in a solid position to leverage that growth when the economy turns,” The Apothecary Shops president Keith Cook said. “Our movement on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies reflects the success of our strategic direction.”

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HEALTH

Type 2 diabetes linked with cognitive impairments, study shows

BY Allison Cerra

WASHINGTON A small study conducted by Canadian researchers found factors that may link Type 2 diabetes with such cognitive impairments as dementia.

Older adults with diabetes who also have high blood pressure, walk slowly or lose their balance, or believe they’re in bad health, are more likely to have poorer cognitive functions than those without these problems, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada and published in the September issue of Neuropsychology

The study of older Canadians — 41 adults with Type 2 diabetes, ages 55 to 81 years, and 458 matched healthy controls (ages 53 to 90 years) — found that systolic blood pressure, a low combination score for gait and balance, and a patient’s own reports of poor health all played a statistically significant role in the relationship between diabetes and cognitive impairment.

“Awareness of the link between diabetes and cognition could help people realize how important it is to manage this disease, and to motivate them to do so,” said co-author Roger Dixon, PhD, of the University of Alberta.

Type 2 diabetes has been found by other researchers to nearly double the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, said Dixon, who studies how health affects cognition in aging. As diabetes becomes more common, this heightened risk could dramatically hike the number of older people with dementia.

The prevalence of diabetes in the United States for people older than age 60 — according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases — is more than 23%, while Canadian prevalence is nearly 19%, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

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