Stress prevention replaces weight management as top health concernJune 16, 2020
As of January 2019, 63% of US households are actively treating or preventing anxiety or stress – a 13 percentage point increase since 2013 that allowed the combined conditions to edge out weight management, which rose only 4 percentage points in the period to include 61% of households either treating or preventing it, Shelley Balanko, senior vice president at The Hartman Group, told attendees last week at a virtual conference hosted by Whole Foods Magazine and Trust Transparency Center.
She added that treatment and prevention of fatigue and depression also increased significantly in January 2019, up 8 percentage points to 52% and 9 percentage points to 46%, respectively, since 2013. This is further reinforced by other research by The Hartman Group that found slightly more consumers (88%) considered mental and emotional well-being to be dimensions of health and wellness compared to those who listed physical well-being attributed (87%).
“This led our analysts to conclude that we’re living in an age of anxiety – and this is pre-COVID-19 pandemic,” which likely has continued to elevate the importance of mental health and stress management in American households, Balanko said.
She added that Millennials and Gen Z are more focused on mental and emotional health issues, such as managing fatigue, depression, anxiety and stress. Baby Boomers are much less likely to be actively treating mental health and tend to focus more on lifestyle and age-related issues, instead, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, chronic joint pain, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Despite the generational divide, the overall reshuffling of health priorities to elevate mental and emotional health paired with pressure from the coronavirus pandemic and social unrest have created significant marketing opportunities – especially for products that promote sleep and comfort.
The ‘catch-22’ of sleep and stress
Recognizing that the relationship between stress and sleep is “a bit of a catch-22” with sleep helping to reduce anxiety and anxiety compromising sleep, Balanko said consumers increasingly are looking for supplements and functional foods that will help them relax.
For example, she said, 52% of households are managing fatigue and 32% report getting less sleep than they’d like four or more days per week. Only 20% of households report getting as much sleep as they like every day.
She also noted that the time when consumers prided themselves on being able to multitask and go for long stretches with little or no sleep “has passed,” and “now mainstream consumers have understood that going without sleep for a long stretch of time is very risky behavior and they understand that sleep can affect their bodily systems, their emotional health and their relationships as well,” she said.
She added that consumers also understand “tactics for stress prevention are within their control.”
For example, she noted, consumers increasingly seek…