Wellness Now: Looking at the People Behind the Trends


Following our 2020 In Health We Trust surveys, new data reveals the state of health and well-being across demographics today. 

Two years ago, our report, In Health We Trust, analyzed how health and wellness changed in the period of rapid change between February and December 2020. In our follow-up survey in September 2022, we asked many of the same questions again, and as shared in our AdAge trends piece, we found growing enthusiasm for wellness alongside concerns about affordability.

And yet, when we look at the demographics, multiple pictures of well-being emerge. Different ages have different behaviors and priorities, impacting how marketers can best reach each generation today. Looking at the data by ethnicity and health condition allows us to better recognize the challenges audiences face now and identify opportunities to offer support. And going a step further, an intersectional approach to these demographics can provide even greater opportunities to recognize the “whole person” in everyone.

Below, we share a few of the latest trends that health and wellness marketers need to know.

Health and Wellness by the Generations  

Gen Z is focused on enjoyment and needs more health guidance
  • Most likely to focus on enjoyment: 44% say eating what they enjoy is more important than a healthy diet. They are 133% more likely to disagree with the statement, “I’m willing to make sacrifices today to live a longer life.”

  • More “me” time: “Making more time for self” and “spending time on a hobby” rank higher for Gen Z compared to other age groups.

  • Uncertainty around health: 29% of those with a less healthy lifestyle aren’t sure which foods to eat to be healthy (vs. 12% average). Gen Z is least likely to know where to go when they need a doctor (29% vs. 17% average).

Millennials are the generation most confident and proactive about wellness 
  • Top-ranked in feeling great: 69% rate their overall health and wellness as excellent or very good (vs. 52% average).

  • Most likely to put in the work: 54% of Millennials use their free time to improve their health and wellness (vs. 45% average).

  • Most enthusiastic about tech: 36% are early adopters of new health or wellness products (vs. 26% average).

Gen X considers the options before taking action
  • Doctors are increasingly the last resort: 68% prefer to take care of themselves if they are sick and only go to a doctor as a last resort, a 19% increase from mid-pandemic (vs. 55% for age groups). 

  • Most likely to consider the costs: 56% think about whether the cost of the doctor is worth it, a 43% increase from mid-pandemic (vs. 44% for other age groups). 

Boomers are less enthusiastic about health and wellness 
  • Seeking care, sometimes: They are the generation most likely (34%) to first contact a healthcare professional if they have a health or wellness question (vs. 27% average). But only a quarter say they go to a doctor as soon as possible if they get sick (vs. 37% average).

  • Holding back in health: Just 36% use their free time to improve their health and wellness (vs. 45% average).

  • Least likely tech adopters: Only 13% say they are the first to try new health and wellness products (vs. 26% average). 

Looking at Race and Ethnicity

Black/African American respondents are motivated but face barriers to action 
  • Making healthy choices: Half rate their lifestyle as extremely or very healthy (vs. 43% average). Three-quarters are willing to make sacrifices today to live a longer life (vs. 61% average).

  • Affordability and access matter: For those who have a less healthy lifestyle, cost is the top barrier at 66% (vs. 39% average), while a quarter said they lacked access to healthy and fresh food (vs. 11% average). 

Hispanic and Latino respondents may need healthy lifestyle guidance
  • Those with a less healthy lifestyle need more: A quarter of these respondents said they were not sure which health services to use (vs. 15% average), and 32% were not sure which lifestyle changes to make to be healthier (vs. 19% average). 

White respondents in our survey are average across many measures of wellness
  • Slow progress on healthy habits: They are the least likely to use free time for health and wellness, at 39% (vs. 45% average), but have improved 39% since mid-pandemic. 

People of Color in Gen Z show more wellness engagement than white Gen Z respondents
  • A notable enthusiasm for wellness: This demographic rates their health and wellness much more highly than white Gen Z respondents (52% vs. 36%), and is more likely to make sacrifices to live a longer life (65% vs. 53%). 

  • Engagement with health resources: Compared with white Gen Z respondents, Gen Z People of Color are more likely to feel empowered by health and wellness info (65% vs. 51%), are more likely to prefer health information focused on science (55% vs. 40%), and are more likely to look up research studies mentioned in articles (58% vs. 42%). 


The Impact of Living with Health Conditions

People with and without health conditions tend toward different wellness habits
  • People with chronic conditions are more likely than those without one to

    • +100% See a mental health professional 

    • +92% See a doctor virtually 

    • +27% Cook more at home since the pandemic

  • People without chronic conditions are more likely than those with one to… 

    • +35% Be early adopters of new health or wellness products 

    • +24% Use their free time to improve their health and wellness. 


Wellness Trend Takeaways

For marketers, these insights suggest the following: 

  • Know your audience: Wellness enthusiasm is high, but it doesn’t look the same across demographics

  • Provide guidance: A lack of information and support continues to hold people back from healthy lifestyles

  • Update your understanding: Audience preferences and priorities continue to change, so keep your insights updated

  • Get granular: With in-depth data analysis in hand, you’ll be prepared to reach the right people, at the right time

For more information about this survey and other audience insights, contact your Healthline Media representative or email us today.

For mid-pandemic comparisons: Healthline Media Landscape Segmentation study. Survey in 2 waves with 1,533 U.S. consumers in wave 1 and 1,577 in wave 2. Data weighted to be representative of U.S. adults. Feb and Dec 2020; For all current data: Healthline Media Health and Wellness study. Survey of 1,470 U.S. consumers. Data weighted to be representative of U.S. adults. Sep 2022.

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