This time of year, many people invest a great deal of time, thought, money, and effort into ways to improve their health and well-being. This pervasive openness to new health ideas draws people to a wide variety of health-related trends—from weight-loss programs and diet fads to exciting exercise routines.
Research in our Department of Health Studies focuses on trends in nutrition and fitness that can help people, organizations, and communities change lifestyle behaviors to move toward a state of improved health. Here are a few key 2016 trends we’ve been discussing on campus:
As more people look to take their short- and long-term health into their own hands, the field of health coaching should continue to expand.
Foundationally, health coaches are trained professionals who provide mentoring, motivation, and personalized support to empower individuals to make beneficial health choices. Training programs throughout the US offer health-coaching certification.
We already see the influx of health coaches working with independent corporations, insurance companies, workplace wellness programs, and similar groups. In 2016, we envision healthcare clinics, patient-centered medical homes, and healthcare-at-home delivery organizations will utilize health coaches and patient advocates more than ever before.
In response to growing demand, new health coach training programs will arise, and existing programs will become more advanced.
Interactive Health Data
The availability of “big data” has industries and individuals clamoring for tools to analyze and respond to statistics. The rampant popularity of wearables doesn’t appear to be waning, and new tools will be increasingly interactive. Instead of simply tracking data, self-health, and fitness technology—wearables, mobile apps, and health-related games—will evolve to provide responsive coaching and granular analytics that are customizable to the user.
The sharing of personal health data via interactive technology continues to draw skepticism, but for many the benefits of personalized self-health outweigh such fears. We anticipate more healthcare facilities developing ways to integrate behavior-tracking technology into their patient care models.
Research indicates that stress levels in the workplace are at an all-time high. In efforts to allay the myriad of minor and major health problems stemming from stress, many companies will encourage their employees to take stress-reduction breaks, exercise regularly, and eat nutritious foods at the office. Stress-mindful businesses can greatly reduce long-term healthcare costs for the business and their staff members.
Workplaces with excellent communication between managers and their teams thrive at minimizing stress. Approximately 70 percent of individuals complain that their boss is the number one cause of their stress.
Intuitive Eating Rather than Weight Obsession
While losing weight can be an excellent boon for your health, it’s also important to address the underlying approach you take to eating. Intuitive eating enables people to develop a symbiotic relationship between their food, mind, and body. By respecting your cues for taste, hunger, and satisfaction, and by limiting negative distractions, you can improve your health without engaging in militant, potentially harmful dieting practices.
Expanded View of Overall Well-Being
With issues such as mental health and gun violence planted squarely in the public’s line of sight, 2016 will present ample opportunities for thoughtful, fair-minded discussions about overall health and well-being. As a result, we hope for strong decisions—at the individual and governmental levels—and community partnerships that cultivate healthier, safer lives throughout the world.
Interested in researching and leading change towards positive health trends in the US and throughout the world? Learn how a master’s degree in health promotion management from American University can help you reach your goals.