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6 bold health predictions for 2013

18 Dec

Genome Sequencing for all!

One year ago I discussed my predictions for the health trends of the year 2012.  As 2012 winds down and we all begin to reflect on what we have all accomplished this year, let’s take a moment to look forward to our year ahead, and what to expect in the realm of health and wellness.

But first a recap on prior predictions for 2012:

Functional food has continued to grow at an astounding rate, with more consumers seeking out their vitamins and minerals from food sources, not supplements and vitamins. More and more millennials are seeking their full nutrition from plant-based products, as the market has grown almost 20% over the past year.

Paleo and Gluten free have continued to surge with the Gluten Free market alone reaching $4.2 billion. The paleo explosion is still nigh.

Omega 3 essential fatty acids are now more recognized as ever by the consumer as a protector of heart health with 38% of consumers believing omega vitamins are “very effective” for heart health.

6 Bold Health Predictions for 2012: 

  1. Look for pharmaceutical companies to get a piece of the gluten free pie. I suspect they are currently in beta-test mode for enzyme products to be available over the counter that can help digestive-related issues in those with gluten intolerance and celiac disease.
  2. Corporate wellness will continue to be a dominant component in the conducting of business. As premiums continue to rise at rates faster than inflation, coupled with the health care law that will force employers to cover their employees or pay penalties, companies will do anything to reduce the burden of health problems on their bottom line. Corporate wellness will be immensely important in 2013 and beyond…
  3. Health technology integration: As we continue to build new apps, technologies, health trackers and health care IT, there will be great fragmentation in the delivery of care and data about our health. Look for start ups looking to create turn key interfaces with all of our health data, stored in cloud technologies. It will look much like the mint.com of health but instead of integrating all of our financial data, it will have all of our health data with web-based portals. It will show trends, data, and even key biomarkers that can help us improve our health, and prevent disease.
  4. Democratized health: With apps and technology on the rise, we are quickly gaining the ability to have complete control to diagnose and treat our own illness. While it’s ways away, Vinod Khosla (famed silicon valley entrepreneur) believes our primary care doctors are becoming even more obsolete than ever with 80% of what doctors do becoming obsolete in the coming years. Silicon valley based start-ups are even offering genome sequencing for $100!
  5. Juice, Juice, and more Juice! People are continuing to turn to “liquid nutrition” diets to “cleanse, detox, and just be health.”  So go ahead and thank your local celebrity for making this trend hot in NYC, LA, and a city near you! Again this is could be considered a sub-category of the growth of functional foods and corporate health too, as many companies are turning to “corporate, office-wide juice cleanses” for improved employee health.
  6. GMO battle will continue to heat up. Yes, prop 37 in california did not pass (thanks in part to millions spent by large agro-conglomerates to spread fear about it), but this war is far from over. Look for more state and federal legislation (farm bill, state bills) that will continue to get more clarity on this emerging issue.

What are some emerging health trends you’re noticing that are ripe for massive growth in 2013?

Craig E. Steinfeld, MPH

Sources:

http://www.ingredientsnetwork.com/news-content/full/top-10-functional-food-trends-of-2012

http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/Consumer_Trends/2012/10/Gluten-free_market_to_42_billi.aspx?ID=%7B3BA3114F-5584-4EBD-B052-113B8CF85BD2%7D&cck=1

http://www.physiciansmoneydigest.com/lifestyle/Health-Premiums-Grow-Faster-than-Wages-and-Inflation

http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2012/08/31/vinod-khosla-technology-will-replace-80-percent-of-docs/

http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2012/08/27/juiciest-trends-in-juicing/

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Health is simple: Walk around + eat plants

31 May

Extremism in  health is rampant. Fad diets are garnering lots of attention and research. Food advocates are going full-on locavore, shunning any food that does not come from within 20 miles of their home or grown in their own backyards. Vegans are mainstream, even calling their veggie-endeavors “plant strong,” and prescribing “green” drinks for their alkalizing properties. These approaches to health are all fantastic for those who have the means, education, and capacity to stick to them. The overarching health problems remain and obesity is still the massive public health problem of our generation.

Why has health become so extreme, complicated, and confusing?

Some of the recent “foodumentaries” that have come out over the past few years display an interesting trend:

Extreme health protocols as a means to health. 

Some examples include: Drinking only juice for months at a time (no chewing here!), never eating another piece of bread (gluten is toxic for everyone!), eating meat only (saturated fat is actually good for you!), or eating things that never had a “face or mother” (red meat kills and dairy makes you fat!).

As a population, we are on a crash course with rampant obesity.  In another five years, more than half the population will be obese and diabetic with the potential to bankrupt our entire health care system and to cripple our economic development.

I posit that the beauty of health lies in its simplicity.   Walk around,  and eat some fruits and veggies!  Recent research actually shows that by watching less T.V. and eating more fruits and vegetables  people can dramatically improve their health. In short, simple lifestyle changes can lead to dramatic health results.  

I harken back to Michael Pollan here: “Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.” But I might alter this a bit:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Walk around. And easy on the T.V. watching.”

You might even occasionally imbibe a cold beer or nice glass of red wine.

Always Going for Glory!

@Cesteinfeld