The Wellness Market Is Improving People’s Well-Being, according to The Global Wellness Institute

People's well-being

Research by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI) suggests that the multi-trillion wellness market is improving people’s well-being. GWI researchers partnered with Dr. Shaun Wang, the key author and statistician of the World Happiness Report, to research this correlation. The research is based on data from GWI’s wellness economy reports, Gallup’s World Poll, and the World Bank. They concluded that for every $844 increase in annual wellness spending per person, the average happiness levels increase by almost 7%. They also found that an increase of $769 in wellness spending per capita is associated with 1.26 years of extra life.

What is Wellness Policy?

The news report “Defining Wellness Policy” is the first-ever quantitative analysis that shows the connection between wellness spending, health outcomes, and happiness. The analysis was controlled for wealth levels and population size in order to be completely accurate. According to GWI senior research fellow Ophelia Yeung, “Investment in wellness is definitely linked to positive outcomes in these metrics. We believe that wellness policy is crucial for bringing the benefits of wellness to everyone, especially to those who cannot pay for it or who face barriers to living a healthy lifestyle.” 

How Will Wellness Policy Work?

The report is the first in a series of Wellness Policy Toolkits which will be released in 2023. The toolkits will provide governments, nonprofits, and businesses with a guide on taking action within the seven domains of wellness policy: physical activity, healthy eating, mental wellness, traditional/complementary medicine, wellness in the built environment, wellness at work, and wellness in tourism. Katherine Johnston, a GWI senior research fellow, says “As we dived into this research, it quickly became obvious that health and wellness should be embedded in the priorities for all policy making. Sustainability has been key to policy conversations for so long – but it’s astonishing that no one has talked about wellness as a comprehensive, cross-cutting policy category in government circles.”

Gaps in Current Healthcare Policy

GWI believes that wellness policy can address the gaps in the current movements attempting to tackle the health crises. It defines wellness policy as “a set of cross-cutting actions that encourage healthy lifestyles and create supportive environments for human health and wellbeing.” It focuses specifically on prevention, lifestyle changes, and environmental factors. Only 4% of global health expenditures are for prevention, risk reduction, and public health. Wellness policy would fill the gaps in Healthcare & Public Health Policy and place emphasis on the lifestyle factors and environmental detriments on health which determine 80-90% of our health outcomes.

Filling Gaps in the Wellness Industry

There are also gaps in the wellness industry in accessibility and affordability. Many wellness options are not available to all. Only 6% of the 4.4 trillion wellness economy spending in 2020 was from “lower-middle” and “low-income” countries. Only a few countries have included happiness and well-being in their national budgeting priorities, such as New Zealand, Wales, and Scotland. Happiness and well-being policy requires a top-down approach to long-term change in how governments allocate resources. Wellness policy contrasts in that it’s immediate bottom-up changes within the existing policy structures and provides changes that would have a more profound impact on human health.

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