Health Junkies

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Health Junkies: Who Are They?

You know the type: gym rats armed with their protein shakes and dietary supplements, organic food devotees, vegetable smoothie aficionados, and individuals who tremble at the mere thought of rice, breads, and potatoes. The health junkie is a dynamic and complex character – he or she displays an ardent devotion towards a healthy lifestyle that resembles the obsessive characteristics of addiction. What differentiates the healthy-lifestyle seeker from the health junkie? A fine line lies between both distinctions; while both seek long-term gains towards the development of a nourishing lifestyle, the latter’s activities often border on fixation and compulsion. However, within this overpowering obsession also lays an inherent desire to improve one’s health and well-being; hence, the health junkie’s insatiable interest to procure and consume “super foods” is a necessary element of this particular goal. Items such as kale, chia seeds, quinoa, squash, and coconut water have become modern staples of the health junkie’s diet. Aside from the ingestion of nutritional foods, they are also dedicated to the practice of activities that promote their health and happiness, such as rigorous (often bordering on fanatical) exercise habits.

The health junkie sub-culture is a burgeoning one; the exponential growth of nutritional awareness has created a profitable demographic that is of particular interest to firms and marketers worldwide. The organic industry is booming – a 3,400% increase in sales in the last 24 years has established organic as the fastest-growing consumer food and lifestyle trend in modern history. As manifested by the increase in healthy/organic food markets (e.g., Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Safeway), consumers are becoming more interested in what goes into their food and how the food is produced and processed. The heightened demand for truthful nutrient labels on food products is another indicator of this phenomenon, one that has become an ingrained reality in the contemporary milieu. Hence, consumer attitudes towards healthier organic foods are predominantly positive in light of the benefits that they provide.

In this debut post, The Behaviorists will delve into the consumption habits, patterns, and behaviors of health junkies and determine the factors that contribute to their decision-making process.

Health Junkies: Places They Frequent 
The health-conscious consumer is concerned with maintaining a well-rounded lifestyle of nutrition and fitness. To do so, they frequent locations that are representative of their health-conscious lifestyle. 

Health-conscious consumers make religious stops at their local healthy grocery stores and farmer's markets because of the variety of organic foods and products they offer. Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Sprouts, and Wild Oats Market (previously known as Fresh and Easy) all top the list of most frequented  grocery stores to shop at. The popularity of these grocery stores is much attributed to their selection of organic fruits and vegetables, clear labeling, grass-fed meats, free-range chicken, and organic spices.

Regular physical activity is an essential component to maintaining a well-oriented lifestyle. This leads individuals to become regulars at gyms, hot-yoga studios, spin and SurfSet classes, Zumba sessions, and boot camp. As an alternative to mainstream exercise, health aficionados can also be found hiking major trails, rock-climbing, or going for a run down the boulevard. Their affinity for fitness brings them to sporting goods retailers like Sport Chalet, Big 5, and Dick's Sporting Goods. Here they can suit their fitness needs with items such as sports training equipment, fitness apparel, and fitness devices. Maintaining an active lifestyle also drives the health-conscious consumer to shop for active wear and accessories. They can be found shopping at Patagonia, Athleta, Under Armour, Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Lulu Lemon, Foot Locker, and more. - Vanessa

Health Junkies: Celebrities
Hollywood celebrities are constantly in the public eye and are often scrutinized for not portraying the ideal image as set forth by society. For that very reason celebrities feel obligated to maintain a healthy lifestyle and remain fit at all times. However, in the midst of having to maintain their looks, there are celebrities that have found a passion for health and fitness, examples include: Gwyneth Paltrow, Giselle Bündchen, and Shailene Woodley. 

Gwyneth Paltrow is well known for cooking and eating all organic foods. Her dedication to health and fitness is revealed in the publishing of her book titled “It’s All Good” and of her blog, goop. Her blog is devoted to living green and clean and is comprised of recipes, shopping, and all around wellness. 
Giselle Bündchen has more to thank than her genes for her great looks. Bündchen has said she owes it all to organic eating. Her love for all things organic has inspired the release of her all organic skin care line, Sejaa.

Shailene Woodley is most recently famed for her “alternative” lifestyle. Her extreme routine involves acquiring her own water from springs, going to the farm for food, and making everything else (from hygiene to everyday food).     -  Sandy 

Health Junkies and Social Media
Health Junkies are primarily health conscious consumers who want to share their nutritious journey with the rest of the world. They are highly active on social media and are constantly posting about their healthy lifestyle. They are primarily concerned with living an active lifestyle that revolves around nutrition, fitness, and their environment. Health junkies are health-conscious consumers who have become obsessed with everything related to health and fitness. They are consumers who have become instrumental on social media. Health and wellness brands such as Special K, Nature Valley, and Dannon can thank these so-called Health Junkies for putting their brand on the map. According to the infographic below, Spring is in the Air, Health Junkies have a larger social presence and share more on social media than the average consumer. Due to the popularity of the consumer group Health Junkies, health, wellness, fitness, and nutrition has been a trending topic on social media. In addition to influencing consumers to lead a healthier lifestyle, health junkies have provided more opportunity for brands to engage with consumers and widen their reach. – Chelsea


Health Junkies Across All Platforms
Health junkies have one goal and that’s to stay in shape. These individuals lead a “wellness-oriented” lifestyle and are concerned with nutrition, fitness, stress, and their environment. This consumer shops at least once a week at their local farmer’s market because that’s where they get the freshest produce. They pay more attention to ingredients and organic labels, causing them to shop at healthy grocery stores. As Chelsea has mentioned, these health-conscious consumers are very active on social media, consistently posting anything from their prepared foods for the week to an article about fitness and exercise. Because they are an influential group on social media, they can potentially be brand advocates. These users have an extensive influence across multiple platforms, which would make their opinions highly valuable. - Ashley

Source: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube,,

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