Health-conscious, but stressed out Millennials a worry for healthcare marketers

Millennials care more about their health - but they're also more stressed out and depressed - according to a study released this week.

NEW YORK: The vast majority of Millennials (97%) prioritize happiness above all else, but they’re also "more stressed, anxious, and depressed than any other living generation," according to data from inVentiv Health’s Allidura Consumer, healthcare ad agency GSW, and the Harris Poll.

Danielle Dunne, MD of Allidura, said the firm often fields questions from clients wondering how Millennials view health and whether it is a priority to them. Yet she added that little information was available on Millennials’ health attitudes.

Some results came as a surprise, she recalled, such as that Millennials worry about their well-being as much as or more than other generations such as the Baby Boomers, and that they have "concerns about having access to doctors and medications."

The Millennial Mindset: The Worried Well Study reflected survey results from 3,530 teenagers and adults, 2,015 of which were "adult Millennials" ages 18 to 32.

The Millennial generation is interested in self-care, explained Tracy Naden, Allidura Consumer MD.  

"They see a more holistic perspective and want to integrate these healthy choices through every part of their lifestyle" such as a new diet, cleanse, or workout routine, she added, noting that they want to pinpoint "what works for them personally."

There are emotional benefits at stake, too, noted Naden. Because of how highly they view happiness, "making healthy choices is very appealing and more motivational and empowering to Millennials," she said.

Millennials’ "360-degree" view of health is both an opportunity and a challenge to healthcare communicators, whether pivoting to resonate with more young people from a health perspective or considering the sourcing of products, said Dunne.

Where there is self-care, there’s also self-diagnosis, said Dunne, noting that the survey’s respondents grew up with Google, WebMD, and a plethora of "friends" online.

"Millennials diagnose themselves with problems they don’t have," she said. The survey found that 37% of respondents do so, resulting in more stress and anxiety. That also raises the challenge of how to add context to health information available online.

The report also found that health issues facing Millennials now rather than later in life contibute to their high levels of stress and anxiety. For example, Dunne said the survey revealed Millennials consider obesity to be "the greatest health challenge of their time." Naden added that Millennial men are more likely to prioritize their mental health.

"There seems to be an even greater opportunity for brands and companies to help Millennials understand and create what’s normal," said Dunne. "I think brands can become part of that circle of trust if they put the consumer front-of-mind and provide content and information that is broader, yet relevant to the audience."

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