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The Pandemic’s Toll: Not Only Sickness, But Health as People Globally Say They Now Define Wellness Differently

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New York, USA
McCann Worldgroup’s ‘Truth About a Well World’ conference unveils new wellness and sustainability research

While Covid-19 has focused the world on the risks and ravages of disease, the pandemic has also less visibly had a major effect in reshaping people’s views and definitions of what it means to be well. In fact, 80% of the world’s population now say that their definition of wellness has changed, with mental health surprisingly emerging as the #1 future health concern, ahead even of new cancer treatments and new approaches to immunity. 

These unexpected findings are among the many actionable insights contained in new global research from McCann Worldgroup’s Truth Central global intelligence unit released and discussed at an online global conference today themed “The Truth About a Well World.”  The conference included a keynote speaker from the United Nations, and explored the findings of two new major global Truth Central studies – “The Truth About Wellness” and “The Truth About Sustainability’’—with a particular focus in each on the implications for brand marketers and businesses.  

‘Truth About Wellness’ in the UK revealed:* 

  • The UK is perhaps shifting towards a more communal understanding of personal wellness – with 45% of people in the UK believing they are only as healthy as the people around them, a significant increase from 18% in 2012. This is the most significant increase across all markets surveyed.  
  • In parallel, the survey discovered that 52% of people in the UK say they’ve reconsidered who really matters to them during the pandemic. 
  •  Additionally, with the past two years seeing healthcare systems come under immense strain as a result of the pandemic, only 35% of people in the UK feel they have access to trustworthy healthcare as a result 

‘Truth About Sustainability’ in the UK revealed:* 

  • 80% of respondents in the UK say they are willing to change something to live more sustainability, whether it be reducing plastic use or commuting by bicycle.  

The top three actions in UK people are willing to do:  

§  Stop using all plastic products 

§  Buy only products that are designed for a long time 

§  Plant a household garden  

o   Significantly the study discovered that 16% of people in the UK are willing stop flying internationally, compared to 10% globally.  

o   In addition, 19% of people in the UK are willing to stop eating meat, compared to 15% globally.  

  • In the UK, respondents say the #1 barrier to leading a more sustainable life is that it’s too expensive, with the #2 barrier being companies don’t offer enough options. This reveals that there is a real opportunity for brands to support and help individuals in living more sustainability by offering more accessible alternatives.  

“There is little doubt that the contemporary world is largely governed by engineering short-term future objectives and solutions. We all do this in our lives, but also in the businesses we lead, from retail to media to cosmetics to sustainability to government. The global culture of wellness should be a firm exception to this short-termism given that prevention is fundamental to the achievement of individual and collective wellness. But people need support to lead healthier lives; in the UK, this need for greater support has nearly doubled in the 10 years we have been tracking this (from 32% to 55%),” commented Dr. Rodney Collins, SVP, director, McCann Worldgroup Truth Central. 

“Brands and businesses are at a crossroads in determining the most meaningful actions they can take as the world recovers its health and seeks a sustainable future,” said Suzanne Powers, global president and chief strategy officer of McCann Worldgroup. “Over the last year, we’ve uncovered a wealth of valuable and actionable intelligence through Truth Central’s studies on Wellness and Sustainability that contain somewhat surprising revelations about how people around the world are thinking about two of the key global issues being faced as we all start moving ahead.”    

Powers noted that just as the government leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow are unsure about what concrete climate change commitments to make, so are individuals. According to ‘Truth About Sustainability,’ while an overwhelming 90% of people globally say they are willing to change their actions to be sustainable, the percentages are much lower when specific actions are queried. 

“People have views about what they can accomplish individually that are sometimes at odds with what is possible because of government and institutional factors,” said Laura Simpson, McCann Worldgroup’s chief intelligence officer and president of the Truth Central unit. She noted also that the studies show significantly that the last two years have shifted people’s views about the role of medical professionals. The research found that 43% of people globally believe that at some point technology will eliminate the need for doctors, a sharp increase from 20% in 2013 and 24% in 2015 who held that view. 

Hosted on Momentum’s platform, MoMo VXi Whitebox, providing an immersive, inclusive online experience, the content can be accessed by registering here. In addition to Suzanne Powers, Laura Simpson and other key strategy executives involved in conducting and analysing the research, the speakers include as keynoter Robert Skinner, deputy director and chief of partnerships and global engagement outreach division, Department of Global Communications of the United Nations. 

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