Are You Up To Date With 2017’s Health Trends?

The current world seems to be high on health and wellness. Health trends feature all round. It has become more of a lifestyle than a passing fad, with self-care being the latest element in the trend. Between CrossFit, inner-city marathons, wireless headphone dance-offs at sunrise, yoga in the park, kale smoothies and chia seeds, every day seems to deliver a new way to be healthier overall. Click on the link to see the 7 Instagram accounts that have made this hip.

Similar trends towards proactiveness in medical self-care have also been showing up. And, according to many of the speakers at the 2017 World Self-Medication Industry (WSMI) General Assembly Conference in Sydney last month, they all have a common theme: self-empowerment.

What is self-care? 

Paul Sinclair, President of the Community Pharmacy Section at FIP, said at the WSMI Conference (2017) that, although varied, self-care is “the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, [and] cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a healthcare provider.”

This, fundamentally, puts the responsibility of health and wellness in the hands of individuals – and they love it.

In previous decades, according to the Australian Self-Medication Industry (2017), people were generally reactive in their approach to health. They addressed it only when they felt unwell, and they did this by reaching out to their GPs. These days, however, individuals are driving their own health, rather than being driven by it

Cause of change

According to Andy Tisman’s presentation at the WSMI conference (2017), growth in consumer health is driven by several demographic and socio-economic trends, including:

Involvement & purchasing power

  • Rise in disposable incomes
  • Accelerated use of the Internet to search for alternatives

An ageing population

  • Greater focus on preventive carehealth trends | longevity live
  • Educated older adults with higher expectations

Rise in product availability

  • Better access via multiple channels
  • Increased switches from prescription to Over-the-Counter (OTC) products

Strong focus on wellness

  • Seeking products to make consumers feel good and healthy
  • More progressive younger generations

The Australian Self-Medication Industry (2017) adds that another driving factor for this change is that people are living longer, but experiencing lengthy periods of illness before death. Improving their health and increasing their quality of life is consequently becoming more of a priority for consumers.

Rise of the apps

The way that people understand and monitor their health is changing too. Dr Isabell Koinig from Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt (2017) shared that, with the ease of access to information, tracking, and customized health solutions, consumers are evolving from passive patients to active, health-conscious drivers. Tisman (2017) suggested that with more than 100,000 health apps on the market and 83% of consumers feeling that online and mobile tools help them to eat a healthy diet, smartphones have become an extension of healthcare.

Good for everyone

The trend towards self-empowered wellness doesn’t only benefit individuals and communities; it affects the whole economy. Brian McNamara, Chairman of the WSMI (2017) introduced the conference with this statement: the US saves $7 for every $1 of OTC sales; more than $100 billion a year. Further, he added that:

  • In the UK, reduced doctors’ visits could save £2 billion annually.
  • In Spain, switching 5% of medicines to OTCs could save €835 million a year.
  • In Australia, $7.5 billion could be gained in productivity by using OTCs.
  • Canada could save $458 million by using non-prescription medicines.

What’s being done

Koinig (2017) says study insights have found that “Reclassifying medicines to non-prescription status can contribute to the empowerment of patients by allowing them to make their own treatment choices. It can [also] have an impact in public health costs and ease the burden on busy healthcare professionals.”As a result, SMASA and other self-care advocates across the world are enabling the trend. For instance, Prof. Charlie Benrimoj, the Head of the UTS Graduate School of Health (2017), shared a new self-care model that has been implemented in Australia, Canada, and the UK, called Minor Ailment Services (MAS).The basic principles of MAS are to:

  1. Improve access to and delivery of essential primary care services
  2. Enhance the role of self-care
  3. Increase the use of the healthcare workforce
  4. Reduce healthcare costs

To the future

Looking ahead, it’s clear that we’re already thinking differently about our self-care, especially compared to previous decades. With an empowered population and an enabling network of professionals supporting it, trends like these may mean that everyone will get to live the most comfortable and healthy lives that they can. When it comes to health trends, don’t give it a blind eye.

Want to learn more about self-care and the new approach to health? Click on the link to find out.

For more info on our recommendations when it comes to taking care of yourself, read more here.

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