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Generation Health? Generation Health?

BBDO conducted an extensive quantitative European study to answer some health related questions. The research took place in 13 European countries (UK, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Serbia, Italy and Greece) amongst more than 11 000 respondents 18+. Let’s take a look at some of the key conclusions and most interestingly how youngsters or Gen Y differs from the rest of the population.

Healthy lifestyle

From Greece over Russia to the UK, the main conclusion of the research is the fact that leading a healthy lifestyle is a major concern in our contemporary lifestyle. 1 out of 2 Europeans see themselves as health-conscious and claim to have made changes to their lifestyle to be healthier (43% amongst youngsters). Also 50% of Europeans search online for health related information.

For most Europeans, health equals a healthy diet. Although 1 out of 2 Europeans claim to have made an effort to eat healthier over the past year, only 18% see their diet as healthier than average. Amongst European youngsters this is only 14%. Exercise is a second component of a healthy lifestyle, but far beyond healthy food. Youngster exercise more than the average population. Also everything that has to do with illness and cure is health related.

5 attitude modes

Our research identified five main attitude/behaviour modes that are also present amongst youngsters: defiance, well being, yo-yo, quick fix and disconnect. These modes are unlikely to remain constant throughout one’s life and most people adopt one of these five modes or combinations. We notice more female youngsters, unwillingly, adapting a YO YO lifestyle.

Youngsters less concerned

Age and generation do have an impact on our health related attitude and behaviour. Youngsters seem to be somehow less involved and concerned about their health. 59% of European 18-24 old says they are at ease with themselves when it comes to food, compared to 67% of people aged 55 or older. Youngsters are somehow being slacker, not able to judge the importance of leading a healthy life (yet). 46% of youngsters often skip meals compared to 39% of the total European sample. 89% of youngsters eat fast food, 10% more than the European 18+ sample. Health is clearly not top of mind for youngsters. Only 27% of 18-24 have regular health checks, 54% amongst the 18+ Europeans. Since they experience less health problems at their age, they are also less interested in everything that has to do with health.

With age people also seem to come to peace with themselves, who they are and what they look like. Only 17% of 18-24 year old are happy with the way they look, amongst 55+ this percentage increases till 26%.

Less pressure

When becoming older, people also tend to put less pressure on themselves. 53% of youngsters frequently feel stressed compared to 29% of 55+. And 55% of youngsters feel tired and lacking energy compared to 37% amongst 55+. This can be explained by youngsters’ high personal ambitions and drive for self-realization. They want and need to excel in everything, at school, in their job, relationship and also in their looks. Being part of the stimulation junkies generation, they want to experience as many things as possible and this leads, not surprisingly, towards a full but also hectic life. Where stress is also part of …

Although we see some differences between generations and we observe that self preservation and health consciousness come to the forefront of attention in the latter part of life, the relationship with health is much more complex and individual than can be explained by mere demographics. Over different age groups and generations, we find people with higher interest and involvement on health compared to others.

Huge opportunity for brands

However, from this study we learn that Generation Y is a great opportunity for health-related brands. We see kids and youngsters being faced with health problems like obesity. Brands can help them in solving their personal problems and achieve their personal goals. And they can use the tools and channels of this generation in doing so. Social media and smartphone applications seem to be good ‘connection’ and ‘motivation’ channels. Think Nike+ apps or the Wii Fit . When having reasonable and measurable goals, injecting fun and social aspects, youngsters will be more open to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Which leads to healthy habits for the rest of their lives.

An interesting ‘health’ mode, targeting Gen Y, is the one shown by Puma Social, in their award winning commercial ‘The After Hours Athlete’, featuring athletes missing shots while bowling and playing pool or darts. Health is thus more than they know it in youngsters’ lives.

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