The Business of Wellness (Part 2) – Commercial Solutions
In the USA over 6 billion dollars a year are spent on diet foods. Close to a billion cans of low calorie “diet sodas” were sold in 2010 alone. In Finland, we are following this trend. Up to half of Finns have stated that they are trying to lose weight, and one fifth of Finns are using some sort of meal replacement.
With this increasing weight loss trend, participation in recreational sports is more popular than ever. In Finland, half of adults report that they perform enough endurance exercise to fulfill current exercise recommendations, while strength training at the gym is by far the fastest growing trend in recreational fitness. The number of adults heading to the gym has actually doubled since the beginning of 2000 and already one in five Finns has made their way to the gym. In the USA, the fitness club business has grown to an unbelievable 26 billion dollars.
Other recreational sports like running, marathons, and triathlons have grown in popularity as well. For many, these sports provide experiences as well as goals to encourage motivation and many have been able to improve their health remarkably while participating in these sports. This is great!
If you happen to be the slightly lazier type, you are also offered many creative solutions. The saunabelt sizzles away the water from your waistline and reveals the abdominals that the “Abtronic” has magically formed on your waistline while you have been watching “The Biggest Looser” on television. On television shopping networks, half-naked bundles of muscles use fabulous new devices with which you can achieve miraculous results in “just weeks” and what’s more, “without suffering, quickly, and reliably”. A healthy state is sold alongside other goods and services that are offered in our daily lives.
It is wonderful that people are interested in their own health and are ready to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Every purchase is an indication of innocent desire to feel good and be fit. The question of why, despite all of these investments, we are gaining weight faster than ever, however, is justified. Shouldn’t a modified diet and hard physical training lead to weight loss, to the minus energy balance that we all desire?
Haven’t we modified our diets enough? Do we train enough using wonderful new devices? Are we not fighting enough to better ourselves? Why are we gaining weight faster than ever? Is wellness actually what advertisements make it out to be?