By Steve French at Natural Products Insider
Women make the majority of purchases for the family. That includes health related products and services. Understanding the attitudes behind these purchases can result in more profitable sales for businesses and better health outcomes for all concerned.
While healthy living is an important topic for all Americans, a number of aspects of achieving good health and adopting a healthy lifestyle are gender based. Women have health issues that are unique to them, but some of the health issues that affect both men and women affect women differently. But women also approach their health in different ways than men.
Women hold strong attitudes about achieving health and adopting preventive strategies. Women are more involved in the care of their own health (as well as in the care of others) for numerous, differing reasons. The longer life expectancy of women may be a result of some of these behaviors, but the bottom line is women have a strong desire to take a proactive approach to their health and wellness. Understanding how and why women have such interest and approaching them with the information, products and services they want and need can resonate with this receptive audience.
Strong Motivations for Good Health
Research conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) in two key quantitative consumer studies shed some light on women’s health priorities. In December 2013, NMI conducted the 15th wave of its annual health and wellness study titled “The State of Health and Wellness in America™” among more than 3,000 U.S. adults. Additional insight is provided by NMI’s Trends in Healthy Aging™ research based on more than 3,600 U.S. adults adding to a nine-year compilation of trended data in this study. These studies reveal unmet needs, explore underlying female health-related behaviors and attitudes, and identify many marketplace opportunities.
Nearly three-quarters of all women believe it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. And they are active and involved in this endeavor. Seven in 10 stated they “will take whatever means necessary to control my own health” and most believe that taking personal responsibility for one’s health is the best way to stay healthy. Comparatively speaking, women hold significantly stronger opinions than men when it comes to their health.
Many stated they are achieving their goal of good health. More than eight in 10 rate their current health as excellent or very good. And most state they are about as healthy as they would have expected at this age; about one in four even consider themselves healthier than they would have imagined at their current age.
Women aim to maintain a healthy lifestyle for myriad reasons. Chief among these are lifestyle factors: wanting to have energy to remain active and enjoy life. Losing weight is another strong motivator, as most understand that maintaining a healthy weight has a significant impact on overall health and related disease avoidance. Family concerns are also strong; half want to be sure they are “around” for their spouse/family, and they do not want to be a burden on their loved ones should their health fail.
Disease and Health Conditions Currently Managed
Despite strong stated health status and intentions as mentioned earlier, women are currently managing a myriad of health issues. And regardless of whether they are actively treating these conditions, many women express concern about preventing them. Perhaps as a result of these health issues and concerns, most women report they “are very concerned about their health and are actively managing it.”
Methods to Achieve a Healthy Lifestyle
In the management of their health, many feel prevention is key, and more women lean toward “preventative wellness” than “managing illness.” There are wide and varied methods by which women go about achieving this goal.
Most believe it is important to make healthy lifestyle decisions, including managing sleep, mental attitude and stress levels. Food also plays a key role; beyond consuming nutritious and healthy foods, many specifically cite the importance of natural, fortified/functional and organic choices. Women also want more healthy ingredients in their foods, including calcium, fiber, vitamins/minerals, antioxidants and probiotics. And many are more likely to purchase foods and beverages that claim to offer benefits for specific health conditions, including losing/maintaining weight, reducing cholesterol, providing heart health, strengthening bones and reducing risk of high blood pressure/stroke, among others.
Many products and services are available to help women address their health concerns and live full and healthy lives. Nonetheless, two-thirds perceive a healthy lifestyle will become more difficult as they age. To that end, a majority are interested in new approaches to manage their health, and are always looking for new self-care methods to prolong their health and vitality. They are discerning consumers, however, and most want health -related products that have proven scientific or clinical proof. The health-related choices and changes women make have a significant impact on their life and longevity. Offering women options to assist them in achieving better and healthier lifestyle habits is a win-win for all involved.
Steve French (steve.french@NMIsoluions.com) is managing partner at the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, nmisolutions.com), a strategic consulting, market research and business development firm specializing in the health, wellness and sustainability marketplace.
Find more on women’s health in INSIDER’s Women’s Health Content Library.
Thanks to Women’s Health
for these ofter overlooked health and fitness tips
If you’re like 99.99% of women in America, you probably own an amazingly comfy pair of workout pants. These tights or capris are so wonderful, in fact, that you wish you could wear them to work, but since you’re not looking to have an HR meeting anytime soon, you settle for wearing them to work out. And then, you know, for 3 hours after your workout, because they’re so comfy that YOU CANNOT TAKE THEM OFF. EVER.
Well, hate to burst your bubble, but not showering right away, a.k.a. keeping your workout clothes on after you exercise for as long as humanly possible, is actually really bad for you—it can cause yeast infections, much like keeping on a wet bathing suit for too long, explains Trina Warren, a certified personal trainer and Pilates Instructor at AYC Health & Fitness in Kansas City. And it doesn’t even matter if you exercise inside a toasty gym or the chilly outdoors—both are bad. “It’s the overall dampness of your workout gear plus the sweaty undergarments that trigger the infections,” Warren explains.
Her advice? Take a shower immediately after your sweat session. This is extra important if you worked out outside and you have environmental allergies, like grass allergies or hay fever, because pollen (an allergen) sticks on your clothes and hair.
Or, if you know you’re going to be running errands afterward and won’t have access to a shower ASAP, at least opt for workout clothes made from synthetic fabrics that are specifically designed to get rid of sweat and keep you cooler and drier. That is, stay away from cotton—that material is the worst because it actually retains sweat and moisture, keeping you sticky and stinky for longer until you shower.
Steve just uploaded his latest podcast on how to build strong healthy bones for a lifetime. Thanks Steve.
“My wife increased her bone density by 7 % in 7 years.”
I have worked with a lot of women regarding their bone health. It is one of the major concerns for women as they age. I know from personal experience as my wife went from osteopenia to osteoporosis by her mid 50s. This occurred even though she was on a quality bone support formula. She had the same result as thousands of other women who we desperate to stop the bone loss. Something was wrong.
The nutrients were all the reported required nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, vitamins D, B6 etc. These were the better of the formulas available in the early 2000s. My wife was looking for a solution that did not involve the drugs.
It was at this time that we learned something new about osteoporosis. We learned that strontium is used as a treatment for osteoporosis in some parts of the world. We learned of another nutrient called ipriflavone which has a similar benefit, and we were all learning about the importance of higher dose vitamin D3. So these were added to her supplement program. Her doctor was skeptical and wanted her to take a bisphosphonate bone building drug. No, thank you. As a result, her bone density was increased by nearly 4 percent in 4 years. Wow. She was then 60 years old and building bone.
Around 2010 we began to learn more about bone support nutrients.We discovered BioSil (orthosilisic acid) a specific form of collagen building silica. And we learned about vitamin K2. And so these were added to her program. The result after 2 more years was another 3 percent improvement in bone density. She is up 7 % in 7 years. She is soon due for her next bone density scan. Will this trend continue? It’s been an exciting result so far, and we anticipate continued benefit.
This is an expensive program to follow if you take everything my wife takes. So here is my list in declining order of importance. I have no basis for this other than personal experience of my wife and other women I have advised. You need to determine the program that you are comfortable with and can afford.
- A high quality natural bone support formula – if you aren’t sure visit a knowledgeable health food store. There are now bone building formulas that include higher amounts of vitamin D3 and added K2. Some even include strontium as a separate formula. These may be the more cost effective but somewhat limited way to go. Look for quality brands and then compare formulas and price.
- Vitamin D3 – Get tested and the adjust to the optimum dose for you.
- Vitamin K2 – 80 to 100 mcg. per day.
- BioSil – follow label directions.
- Strontium – 680 mg. per day, taken apart from calcium.
- ipriflavone – follow label directions.
In this podcast, I will give you my best advice for women who are concerned about osteoporosis. You can also print out a copy of my paper entitled “A Natural Approach to Bone Health”. You will find in depth interview on vitamin D3, K2 and BioSil at HealthQuestPodcast.com. Search the TAG INDEX to easily find all related content.
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