Health concerns continue to impact Western culture, as lifestyle diseases such as stress, obesity, cancer and heart disease reach epidemic levels.
This is impacting society in multiple ways. Governments are rolling out schemes for people to eat right and exercise more. Companies offer employees incentives for biking to work or participating in sport and de-stress activities, while reality TV tracks families on a health quest to achieve a more balanced lifestyle. A healthy body, mind and spirit is the motivating mantra for tomorrow’s people.
Weight loss and diet management is an enormous challenge, but also a thriving industry. Globally, more than 1 billion of us are above our ideal weight and the effects can be life threatening. It is predicted that by 2050 more than 50% of the UK population will be obese – many of them kids. These danger signs have already sparked calorie counts on menus, fat taxes on airlines and warning stickers on food products – reminding you that what you are about to eat may seriously damage your health.
Affluent consumers happily pay a premium for self-pampering, mind-detox, personal trainers, and wellness coaches – health management is simply big business. Prevention rather than cure is the motto for those who explore holistic methods to maintain optimum health and wellbeing. Be it yoga and meditation, raw-food and herbal remedies or new connoisseurship through authentic cooking rituals, the word is out that healing, health and wellbeing are well worth both our money and time. We invest in our body – our most valued future capital.
Government warnings about the risks of an unhealthy lifestyle may inspire some, but technology-assisted family fitness seems set to reach many more. By the end of 2009 Wii sport and fitness product sales reached 1.6 million games. Self-diagnostic preventive equipment is a booming business, as are Smartphone apps measuring calorie output, activity level and sleep quality – and then recommending ways to live better. Targeted health information and personal responsibility are emerging as the new routes to balanced lives.
* Fast-forward Health Fixes: According to New Scientist, stem cells could be used for treating neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, strokes and Alzheimer’s. To get them to the brain, you might have to inhale them.
* How do you make children eat healthily? Lock them in: The newly appointed school food tsar will today urge headteachers to bar pupils from leaving the premises at lunchtime in an effort to promote healthy eating habits. >>
Images All Kjaer Global
1. Green Salad
2. Swimming Frederiksø, Denmark >>
3. Body East London by night
Meet the Futurist
Anne Lise is a futurist and keynote speaker working across the world