Wednesday, July 1, 2009

From Jordan's Desk--Man Alive! Guys and Their Health

Although women are the primary health gatekeepers for themselves and their loved ones, men may be starting to take their health more seriously and acting upon it. They are becoming increasingly involved in their own health and are responding to what speaks their language.

The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), based out of Harleysville, Pennsylvania, has captured some revealing data on men’s shopping activities and habits. A spokesman for NMI says that “Over the last five or six years we’ve noticed a dramatic change in men’s shopping habits. We see only about 58 percent of women doing the primary shopping—meaning that more men are taking over that role. Men appear to be getting much more involved in managing their own health issues.”

How it’s communicated to men seems to be key, too, according to one market researcher. While men may weigh a product’s health benefits, they seem to be more interested in listening to language that infers benefits that are “performance based.”

Boomer men may be leading the way, too, in this area. They are, in fact, carving out new territory when it comes to taking care of their health. In generations past, men just didn’t discuss health issues. Boomer men, however, are interested in maximizing their health to maintain it, to manage weight, and to maintain vitality and relevance.The result is that they are showing more interest in nutrition and overall wellness.

Boomers aren’t alone, though. Another demographic of men who focus on health and appearance are younger men—often single, city dwellers—who take their physical state and health seriously. For them, the emphasis seems to be “stay healthy and look healthy.” These guys have no problem going out and purchasing items such as supplements for themselves because they are concerned about their appearance and their health.

As far as what's on men’s list of health topics…

Weight, heart health, stress/healthy sleep, digestion, immune health and joint health top the list, according to data from NMI and another market research firm called HealthFocus. Interestingly enough, a full 41 percent of men were trying to manage their weight and to get in-- or keep in --tip-top shape. Additionally, prostate health was a concern for many guys.

Sparking men’s interest is lycopene, which has shown increased focus in recent years—especially since the FDA’s health claim, approved in 2005, which states a connection between lycopene found in tomatoes and processed tomato products and prostate health. Other nutritional areas to watch for in men’s health include vitamin E, B vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, zinc, folic acid, and even fenugreek seeds.

No matter what their motivation, however, the good news is that men may be more aware of the importance of taking care of themselves and are doing something about it.

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