The health of the nation is changing. 2019 was full of startling revelations and new trends that will likely continue as we head into 2020. Health trends always seem to be in flux as new products and fads come into play, reshaping our idea of what’s healthy and what’s not.
Before we talk about how the business of healthcare is expected to change in 2020, let’s look at how the health of your patients may change over the next few years as these new trends take root. Here are some of the biggest health trends to watch out for in 2020:
Wearables and the Rise of Personalized Care
Fitbits, Apple Watches and smartphone apps are changing the way your patients think about their health. Remember the phrase, “There’s an app for that?” The same is now true of healthcare. Patients can now count how many steps they’ve walked in a day and record their blood pressure, breathing, sleep habits and heart rate, all without the help of a healthcare professional. Individuals can even track their menstrual cycles, medication intake, and other important health information with just the touch of a finger.
More of your patients will likely take advantage of these apps in the new year. They may come into the office with pre-existing ideas about their health. Some may choose to listen to their smartphone instead of their local care providers, while others may put off seeing their doctors all together. Some of these apps have been approved by the FDA and others have not.
Talk to your patients about the pros and cons of using these apps and how they may affect their health.
Alternative Pain Relief
The opioid crisis may have been the healthcare story of the year in 2019 and the consequences will continue to reverberate well into 2020. Roughly 50 million Americans are living with chronic pain. That’s roughly one-seventh of the population.
Instead of taking powerful pain meds like opioids, more individuals are turning to alternative pain relief methods, such as yoga, CBD oils, and marijuana. More states have legalized marijuana in recent years. CBD (cannabidiol) has also skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years. It relieves pain and tension without the psychedelic effects of marijuana. A new Gallup poll shows around 14% of Americans currently use CBD products, including oils, skincare products, tea, edibles and other products. Based on the results, 40% of users utilize CBD products for pain, 20% for anxiety, 11% for sleep. CBD sales are predicted to reach about $1.8 billion by 2022.
There are currently 850 different brands selling CBD products. We’ve also seen a number of vaping-related health scares in the past 12 months, many of which seem to be related to black market marijuana sales. If some of your patients use these products, talk to them about the risks involved and why it’s important to buy from reputable sellers.
The Decline of American Beef
The American beef industry has had a tough year. Some of the biggest food producers and manufactures in the country have started offering meatless products that resemble traditional burgers and other meat dishes. Burger King’s Impossible Whopper continues to be all the rage.
Consuming too much meat isn’t good for your patients or the environment. It can lead to heart disease, high cholesterol, and even cancer. However, impossible meats and other meatless options aren’t always the best alternative. On the one hand, meatless burgers and dishes tend to have as much protein as regular beef burgers. They get their protein from plants, such as soy, peas and mung beans. They also have lots of vitamins and minerals, many of which can be hard to find when switching to a vegetarian diet.
However, the Impossible Whopper and other meatless options also tend to be highly processed. They’re also high in saturated fat. Diets higher in saturated fat can lead to heart disease and premature death.
Producing less meat is good for the environment, but your patients should be weary of some of these meatless options. If your patients are trying to consume less meat, steer them towards less processed options and those with lots of vegetables and natural ingredients.
More consumers are trying to stay fit at home by trading in their local gym memberships for at-home work out videos, exercise equipment, and streaming memberships. Interactive mirrors and screens now offer just about any type of exercise you can think of, such as yoga, boxing, and cardio boot camps.
Exercise helps your patients stay healthy, but not everyone has the time to go to the gym several days a week. These new virtual fitness programs are designed to help people workout in less time. We’ve all seen commercials that claim they can help you get fit in just 10 minutes a day. However, working out at home isn’t the same as going to the gym or taking a yoga class.
Talk to your patients about why it’s important to stay safe when working out alone. They may injure themselves if there’s no one around to help them perfect their posture. They may also lose out on the social benefits of working out in a group, which may affect their physical and mental health.
Regardless of how your patients plan to exercise in the new year, encourage your patients to move more and sit less. We all spend far too much time staring at screens. The Department of Health and Human Services currently advises the following:
Adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week.
Keep these health trends in mind as you care for your patients in the new year.