By Mia Burns
McCann Truth Central has released a new online global study, The Truth About Wellness, which surveyed 7,000 participants, and produced results that some may find unexpected, or may dispel certain notions.
For instance, the study revealed that Chinese consumers don’t care to age gracefully. Only 7 percent liked the idea of getting older compared to 39 percent in Brazil and 26 percent globally. The assumption has been made that aging is welcomed and respected in China, but a period of rapid change has left Chinese consumers with a fear of being left behind, and this insight is important for brands moving into the largest marketplace in the world.
Obesity is viewed as the No. 1 threat to future health, and young men are more worried than women that Facebook is leading to weight gain. Globally, 25 percent of young adult makes compared to 17 percent of young women worry that their obsession with technology and social networking is facilitating more sedentary living, and in turn, obesity. One in 10 people around the world think that Facebook is making them overweight, and in Brazil, this reached 2 in 10, which is a redefining of the term couch potato for the iPad generation.
“It’s the difference between women and men sort of how they relate to weight in general,” Graeme Read, senior VP, director of Strategic Planning EMEA at McCann Health, told Med Ad News. “Women tend to worry more, and are more informed about the cause of weight gain and weight loss and tend to give a more involved analysis. They tend to see it as sort of an internal struggle, and not just blaming external factors. Men are more simplistic with these things. They look at what they can blame, and when given an opportunity, they may blame an external factor more so than an internal factor quite simply stemming from the fact that they are less informed. It’s not just Facebook per se. It’s probably a catch all for screen time.”
Some other nuggets from the study include 86 percent of people believing that they have the power to change their own wellness level, 73 percent of people feeling positive about their overall health, and the average person now expects to live to be 79, with this rising to 84 in China, according to the executive summary. The technological revolution is amplifying this optimism.
Regarding the future of doctors, 21 percent think that physicians will become obsolete. Around the world, 4 in 10 people feel more in control of their health because of technology. One third trust technology more than instinct. Sixty-six percent think that if doctors can focus more on preventing illness rather than curing it they’ll continue to be valuable to consumers in the future.
“A doctor is now one of 20 to 30 elements of someone’s eco wellness system,” Read says. “Back 5,000 years ago in China, you paid your doctor to keep you well, and you stopped paying when you got sick. Somehow over time, that has become completely reversed. You pay your doctor when you get sick. It’s a funny transaction that we really have with healthcare professionals. Navigating that shift with healthcare and doctors and consumers is interesting in that respect. I think that when we come on to the contradictions again, there are opportunities for brands to contribute.”
One of the contradictions that Read mentions is how food is essential for wellness, but can also be an enemy, and that relationships with the basic buildings blocks have become a little bit toxic. “Exercise and living a stress-free existence, sublime happiness, and diets, all of those sort of things in the lives of many people live are completely out of balance and are probably toxic and it can be a continual struggle,” he says. “Brands can help simplify our relationship with those building blocks.”