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Health and wellness are often used interchangeably, but they have slightly different meanings. Health is more of a medical term and describes the physical and mental state of a person. It usually denotes a lack of disease or abnormality. Wellness, on the other hand, is defined as the overall process of maintaining a general state of good health. Wellness involves conscious decisions on the part of the individual, whereas health simply describes a person's condition. In modern usage, however, the combined phrase "health and wellness" has come to mean the pursuit of overall physical, mental, and emotional health. This term is used frequently in various contexts, all aimed at promoting a better lifestyle.
The term "health and wellness" has become a powerful tool for marketers in various industries. As people decide to change their habits and pursue healthier lifestyles, many different companies stand to benefit. Health food retailers, manufacturers of exercise equipment, and companies that produce vitamins or nutritional supplements could all see increased demand for their products as a result of the health and wellness trend. On the other hand, companies whose products or services are generally associated with poor health would be negatively impacted by an increased public concern about health and wellness. Examples include tobacco companies and quick service restaurants (QSRs).
Many factors have contributed to the increased public awareness of health and wellness. Higher rates of heart disease, increases in the incidence of cancer, record numbers of clinically obese people, and various other health scares have all drawn attention to the need for healthy lifestyle choices. Additionally, as modern medicine has progressed, doctors and scientists have greatly expanded their knowledge of the human body, exposing many health risks that were previously unknown. One-hundred years ago, doctors touted excessive sun exposure as beneficial, and heroin/cocaine combo sets, complete with syringes and needles, were sold in department stores. It is now common knowledge that too much sun can cause skin cancer, smoking can bring on any number of painful deaths, and eating a bit too much ice cream can pack on the pounds, increasing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Though the definitions range from the strictly physical to the deeply spiritual, most agree that health and wellness involves making conscious decisions to improve a person's overall state of health. Common components of the pursuit of health and wellness are:
Natural food retailers
Exercise equipment manufacturers
Nutritional supplements and health care products
Quick Service Restaurants