Does Being A Parent Make You More Well?

Our recent “Truth about Wellness” study revealed that the age of wellness is well and truly upon us.  Spending on wellness has doubled in the last decade, and will continue to grow at an impressive rate as the concept becomes further ingrained in our culture. In fact, it is a concept so rich with possibility that it is shifting from a perceived luxury to being considered a fundamental human right.   

So what is this magical notion of wellness? When we asked people to personify wellness, they imagined a 34-year-old female, with a healthy BMI who most likely comes from Japan. In the U.S. and UK, she is happy and smiling, while in China she has rosy cheeks, and in Brazil she is clean and neat. However, there is one attribute that the world cannot agree on – is it easier to achieve wellness with or without children? Well, over a third of parents agree that it is easier to achieve wellness with children, a view not mirrored by singletons, I might add! So what is the relationship between wellness and parenting? 



On one hand, the fulfillment and happiness that being a parent brings can be seen to elevate a person’s wellness. But on the other hand, the lack of “me” time to go to the gym or to simply unwind means that achieving optimum wellness can be a challenge as a parent. However, one thing that our research revealed is the very process of becoming a parent makes people more open to outside help. It is this more open stance that gives parents a different way into wellness. From the offset, they embrace the tools and new technologies that can help make their lives easier and save time.

With this in mind, over a third of parents already admit to relying on technology instead of their instincts when it comes to managing their health, something we would expect to rise with the burst of apps and sensors that make managing our health that bit easier. Similarly, they are more likely to trust WebMD over their doctor than their non-parent friends. 

However, as we so often see with technology, it is not always plain sailing. Overall, parents are less likely to agree that technology is making the world more well in comparison to their childless counterparts. Indeed, this increased usage and reliance on technology make parents more wary, not less, of the effect it has on their lives; 40% of parents with children under 12 agree that the internet is making them nervous about their health, in comparison to the global average of 32%. 

Interestingly though, the tensions we see around technology do not necessarily mean that parents are more cautious; if anything, parents become more pragmatic in their approach to wellness. They certainly have a more open attitude to the people and organizations that can benefit and influence their overall wellness. Firstly, parents are more likely to agree that they trust information from social networks more than their mother or doctor.

Secondly, they are more likely to agree that brands and the government should take more responsibility for helping to change people's overall wellness. 

This crowdsourcing approach shows how actively engaged parents are when it comes to wellness, both for their children and themselves. In this light, parents are leading the way with their adoption of technology and multi-source approach. What’s more, 96% of parents agree that brands have a role to play when it comes to their wellness. This gives brands a renewed importance and value in the wellness conversation, and hopefully a role that can start to affect change for the better.

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