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Medical Tourism On A Cruise Ship

Health is everywhere: where we live, work, play, and learn, as I’ve often written here on Health Populi. While I’ve also analyzed the market for medical tourism over the past twenty years, this week I’ve learned that it extends to the cruise travel industry along with hospitals and clinics around the world. I had the pleasure of meeting up this week with Hannah Jean Taylor, Manager of the Mandara Spa on Norwegian Cruise Line‘s ship, The Norwegian Breakaway. This vessel accommodates nearly 4,000 passengers who enjoy the services of over 1,600 staff members in the hotel, entertainment, and operational crews.

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Good Design Can Drive Trust in Healthcare

“The best healthcare must involve kindness and instill trust,” reads the title of a Huffington Post UK article written by David Haslam, Chair of NICE, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. NICE (an appropriate acronym for the article’s sentiment) is in fact not an institution known for charity or do-goodness, but is the organization that is charged with assessing the cost-effectiveness and -benefit of medical innovations — drugs, devices, procedures and processes. Haslam writes that kindness and trust connote “care, community and friendship.” These factors have a profound impact on health outcomes, Haslam has observed. Trust drives health

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The Magic of Getting Fit Starring Penn Jillette (With Help From Withings)

Health is where we live, work, play, pray and have fun. And if you’re Penn Jillette, the magician who collaborates with Teller, it took more than sleight of hand or a magic trick to lose 100 pounds — one-third of his body weight. He did it, according to this video, with the help of hard work, and using activity tracking tools from Withings. Unlike many people who quantify themselves for wellness and fitness, Penn did so to avoid having a medical procedure (i.e., the implantation of a stomach sleeve for weight loss) and also to reduce the six meds he

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TIME Sees Lots of Health in the Best Inventions of 2015

Among TIME magazine’s 25 best inventions of 2015, most relate directly or adjacently to health and health care. Among the 25 are: The EKO Stethoscope A gluten-sniffing sensor, the 6SensorLabs Nima The Sproutling baby monitor Nike Flyease 8 shoes, that you can tie with one hand Cogni-Toys Dino, the toy that talks back A smart refrigerator that can fix you a glass of nutrient-enriched water The TZOA environmental tracker for personal pollution sensing, measuring atmosphere in a specific area (e.g., temperature, particulates such as dust, pollen, mold, and car exhaust), and UV ­exposure Doppler Labs Here Active Listening earbuds The

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The Future 100 from JWT – Health Is Everywhere in 2016

Food + Drink, Beauty, Tech + Innovation, Retail, Lifestyle…JWT pulls out their crystal ball for 2016, and I see health, everywhere. The Future 100 – Trends and Change to Watch in 2016 is J. Walter Thompson Intelligence Innovation Group’s annual trend forecast, which I highly value and mine each year to help THINK-Health continue to hone our own environmental analyses for health and healthcare. [Here’s what I wrote one year ago about JWT’s 2015 forecast]. Health is baked into JWT’s 2016 trendscape, well beyond their “Health” chapter. Even the report’s introduction is health-flavored: “As forecasters, we’re watching the rapid metabolism

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How Cable TV Can Make Your House Your Medical Home

Taking literally the maxim that health is where we live, work, play and pray, Cox Communications acquired Trapollo, a remote health monitoring company, extending the core business of cable TV into the world of health services to the home. “We believe that the home will be an increasingly important node within the healthcare delivery architecture,” Asheesh Saksena, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Cox Communications, said in the company’s press release. In the past year, Cox Communications entered in a joint venture with the Cleveland Clinic, to form Vivre Health for developing digital health care services. Cox also invested in

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What Mavis Staples taught us about health at SXSW

While I am all health, all-the-time when I’m at the annual South-by-Southwest meet-up in Austin, I had the opportunity to attend the premiere of the documentary, Mavis! (exclamation point included and appropriate, given the energy and joy in the title’s subject). “Mavis” is Mavis Staples, who you should know for her music, as singer with her family’s group, The Staple Singers; and, for as a positive force for good. In fact, she’s a lesson in whole health, which is why I’m writing about here on Health Populi which is dedicated to health where we live, work, play, pray…and sing. For

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Learning from Mr. Spock and Leonard Nimoy about living long and prospering

“Live long and prosper,” Mr. Spock repeated, like a mantra, throughout his life. We say goodbye, on this dimension anyway, to Leonard Nimoy, who passed away today at the age of 83. Star Trek is a staple entertainment — perhaps even a relaxation therapy — in my home. So Mr. Nimoy’s departure from the Planet is indeed a sad event here. In thinking about Spock’s mantra about living well, I am reminded of an interchange between him and Captain Kirk in the Star Trek movie, The Wrath of Khan. In that film, Spock is severely irradiated while saving the ship, and

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Left Swipe Dat – this is how health messaging is done

In our ADHD-addled, over-messaged and noisy world, it’s hard to break through the media clutter and binge-watching to get a health message out. Here’s the way it’s done: an engaging, humorous, impactful and crisp campaign focusing on making smoking so un-sexy and un-cool, you swipe the prospective date off of your Tinder app. Watch and learn, from The Truth. You can follow the campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #LeftSwipeDat. Kudos to the truth® anti-smoking campaign and the creative team who got this blend of message and medium so right. truth® is part of the Legacy project which is funded by the

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Building the health ecosystem: new bedfellows coming together

2015 is already becoming a year where bedfellows of different stripes are joining together to build a health care ecosystem well beyond hospitals, doctors and health plans. Announcements launched last week at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and coming out this week at the J.P. Morgan Conference in San Francisco, the first two weeks of 2015 reveal that new entrants and legacy health stakeholders are crossing corporate and cultural chasms to (try and) solve challenges that prevent us from getting to that Holy Grail of The Triple Aim: improving health care outcomes, driving down per capita costs,

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More from the 2015 CES – Shelly Palmer’s 3 Laws of the Digital World and What They Mean for Health Care

Three laws that shape the digital world have kicked into high gear, changing our lives in ways we cannot yet imagine. Those three forces are Metcalfe’s Law (in brief, the increasing value of networks), Moore’s Law (that processing power doubles every 18 months, or even faster), and the Law of Accelerating Returns (the fast pace of technological change). The guy who told me about that at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (#CES2015) was Shelly Palmer, something of a Renaissance Man in the evolving digital world, advising communications companies, composing music, patenting TV technology, investing in ventures, hosting shows on digital living,

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The Internet of Healthy Me – putting digital health in context for #CES2015

Men are from Mars and Women, Venus, when it comes to managing health and using digital tools and apps, based on a poll conducted by A&D Medical, who will be one of several hundred healthcare companies exhibiting at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show this week in Las Vegas. Digital health, connected homes and cars, and the Internet of Things (IoT) will prominently feature at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. I’ll be attending this mega-conference, meeting up with digital health companies and platform providers that will enable the Internet of Healthy “Me” — consumers’ ability to self-track,

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Health care as a retail business

The health care industry is undergoing a retail transformation, according to Retail Reigns in Health Care: The rise of consumer power and its organization & workforce implications from Deloitte. Deloitte’s report published in October 2014 focuses on the health insurance business, which is newly-dealing with uninsured people largely unfamiliar with how to evaluate health plan options. This by any definition requires new muscles for both buyers and sellers on a health insurance exchange: new product access + uninformed consumer = retail challenge. Deloitte notes another supply and demand challenge, and that’s with the health insurance company workforce: while 93% of health

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Joan Rivers lessons for health and wellness: think like a Bee and Laugh

If laughter is the best medicine, Joan Rivers earned an MD in my personal health ecosystem. My parents loved and laughed with her comedy when pioneered stand-up comedy on TV, and I became increasingly intrigued in and impressed by her vitality, her tenacity, and her survival strategies. I also shared a love of her bee pins with my mother-in-law; the pins were created by Joan and her team for QVC, the electronic retailer, with whom Joan forged a profitable and popular line of fashion, jewelry and home decor. The bee, Joan explained, is anatomically and aerodynamically unfit to fly. Yet,

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Over-the-counter drugs – an asset in the collaborative, DIY health economy

Nations throughout the world are challenged by the cost of health care: from Brazil to China, India to the Philippines, and especially in the U.S., people are morphing into health care consumers. Three categories of health spending in the bulls-eye of countries’ Departments of Health are prescription drugs, and the costs of care in hospitals and doctors’ offices. In the U.S., one tactic for cost containment in health is “switching” certain prescription drugs to over-the-counter products – those deemed to be efficacious and safe for patients to take without seeking treatment from a doctor. Over-the-counter drugs (OTCs) are available every

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Zero kilometers and the future of food

I have seen the future of food and it is in Italy at a grocery chain called Conad, which launched a locavore-focused brand called Sapori & Dintorni. Here in Florence, Italy, where I’m spending a week’s holiday with my family, we stay in an apartment in the Oltrarno – just south of the Arno River, up a short hill from the southern tip of the Ponte Vecchio, the old bridge known for its gold and silver jewelry. But the real gem in this neighborhood is that grocery store, whose Sapori & Dintorni label represents food sourced from Italy’s great food

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Where’s TripAdvisor for health care? JAMA on physician ratings sites

As more U.S. health citizens enroll in high-deductible health plans – now representing about 30% of health-insured people in America – health plan members are being called on to play the role of consumer. Among the most important choices the health consumer makes is for a physician. Ratings sites and health care report cards ranking doctors by various characteristics have been in the market for over a decade. However, little has been known on the public’s knowledge about the availability of these information sources, nor of peoples’ use of physician rating sites. This question is addressed in Public Awareness, Perception, and

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Wear It Well – Fashion Mashes Up With Health At #CES2014

Madame Onassis got nothing on you, Rod Stewart complimented in his hit You Wear It Well in 1972. Now we can all wear it well, based on the fashion-meets-health-mashups at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. Several events underline this observation at the CES this year: – Fitbit has signed up Tory Burch to put her mark accessorizing the company’s activity trackers – The CSR Bluetooth smart pendant was designed with the chic jeweler Cellini; the device can receive alerts from an iPhone (think: medication adherence, or a message from mom in Florida). This is featured in the first photo. –

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Health is everywhere – seeing health in JWT’s Top 100 Trends for 2014

Of 100 broad-based trends to expect in 2014, most relate in some way to health. I’ve reviewed every one of the 100 forecast points in JWT’s 100 Things to Watch in 2014 report, and it seems Health is Everywhere. Let me point out many, which I’ve allocated to health-ified buckets (note that JWT organizes the list of 100 by alphabet, from “A” to “Z,” so they are not in any prioritized or strategic order). The most direct-health impacting bucket of trends are those in health tech. These include E-cigarette regulation (#35), Glassware (#42), Haptic technology (#46), Needle-free vaccines (#64), Oculus Rift (#65), OTT TV (#66), Telediagnostics

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Mobile health apps – opportunity for patients and doctors to co-create the evidence

There are thousands of downloadable apps that people can use that touch on health. But among the 40,000+ mobile health apps available in iTunes, which most effectively drive health and efficient care? To answer that question, the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics analyzed 43,689 health, fitness and medical apps in the Apple iTunes store as of June 2013. These split into what IMS categorized as 23,682 “genuine” health care apps, and 20,007 falling into miscellaneous categories such as product-specific apps, fashion and beauty, fertility, veterinary, and apps with “gimmicks” (IMS’s word) with no obvious health benefit. Among the 23,682 so-called

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Shopping, everywhere, for health

When it comes to retail shopping, most people spend most of their time shopping in brick-and-mortar stores – not online. 92% of spending happens in stores. 3 in 10 people spend most their shopping time online. Brick-and-mortar is far from dead, concludes the report Recasting the Retail Store in Today’s Omnichannel World from AT Kearney. This study looked into the shopping behaviors for consumers in the US and the UK in February 2013. What is true is that the growth of online retail has taught consumers how to shop on the basis of more transparent pricing and supply. This then drives

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7 Women and 1 Man Talking About Life, Health and Sex – Health 2.0 keeping it real

Women and binge drinking…job and financial stress…sleeplessness…caregiving challenges…sex…these were the topics covered in Health 2.0 Conference’s session aptly called “The Unmentionables.” The panel on October 1, 2013, was a rich, sobering and authentic conversation among 7 women and 1 man who kept it very real on the main stage of this mega-meeting that convenes health technology developers, marketers, health providers, insurers, investors, patient advocates, and public sector representatives (who, sadly, had to depart for Washington, DC, much earlier than intended due to the government shutdown). The Unmentionables is the brainchild of Alexandra Drane and her brilliant team at the Eliza

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Gettin’ higi with it: Lupe Fiasco’s foray into public health

The latest in SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile) Health is a gamified tool coupled with a hardware kiosk, known as higi. The brainchild of Michael Ferro, a successful dotcom entrepreneur who now owns the Chicago Sun-Times, higi’s mission is to help people – particularly younger peeps – to take better care of themselves by scoring points and, as a result, social connections. Higi’s an African word for origin, so the health tool has some aspects relating to being in a tribe — a kind of health tribe. It also has a fun sound to it, Ferro noted, which sets the vibe

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Lower calories are good business

The restaurant chain business employs 10% of U.S. workers and accounts for $660 bn worth of the national economy. Where restaurant chains are growing fastest is in serving up lower-calorie meals, and it’s been a boon to the bottom-line. The case for lower calories leading to better business is made in Lower-Calorie Foods: It’s Just Good Business from the Hudson Institute‘s Obesity Solutions Initiative, published February 2013. In the report, researchers analyzed nitty-gritty restaurant chain data on servings and traffic from 2006-2011 to sort out whether sales of so-called lower-calorie menu items in 21 chains led to improved business. The chains

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Think about health disparities on Martin Luther King Day 2013

On this day celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., I post a photo of him in Detroit in 1963, giving a preliminary version of his “I Have a Dream” speech he would give two months later in Washington, DC. As I meditate on MLK, I think about health equity. By now, most rational Americans know the score on the nation’s collective health status compared to other developed countries: suffice it to say, We’re Not #1. But underneath that statistic is a further sad state of health affairs: that people of color in the U.S. have lower quality of health than white

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We are all health deputies in the #digitalhealth era: live from the 2013 Consumer Electronic Show

Reed Tuckson of UnitedHealthGroup was the first panelist to speak at the kickoff of the Digital Health Summit, the fastest-growing aspct of the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (#2013CES). Tuckson implored the spillover audience to all, “self-deputize as national service agents in health,” recognizing that technology developers in the room at this show that’s focused on developers building Shiny New Digital Things have much to bring to health. As Andrew Thompson of Proteus Medical (the “invisible pill” company) said, “we can’t bend the health care cost curve; we have to break it.” This pioneering panel was all about offering new-new technologies

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One-third of U.S. consumers plan to buy a new fitness tech in 2013, but most buyers are already healthy

Over one-third of U.S. consumers plan to buy a new fitness technology in the next year, especially women. They’ll buy these at mass merchants (females in particular, shopping at Target and Walmart), sporting goods retailers (more male buyers here), online and at electronics stores like Best Buy. These potential buyers consider themselves in good or excellent physical health. They’ll see the latest applications on retail store shelves in pedometers, calorie trackers, fitness video games, digital weight scales, and heart rate monitors that will be launched this week at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In advance of the

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New Year’s Resolutions for health, and the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show

When it comes to taking on personal responsibility, the #1 New Year’s Resolution is to engage in fitness and exercise, cited by 43% of U.S. adults, followed by healthy eating, noted by 37% of people. Other resolutions involving personal responsibility are Family (26%) Spirituality and faith (22%) Managing personal finances (22%. This survey was undertaken as part of Liberty Mutual’s The Responsibility Project (RP), which is taglined: “Explore what it means to do the right thing.” Launched in 2008, Liberty Mutual’s RP has been diving into the many aspects of daily living for which we, each of us, could take responsibility…including

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Food and health: information is not doing the job as the U.S. continues its obesity march

Notwithstanding the fact that most phones on U.S. streets are “smart” ones, most adults surf the net for health information, and most people try to change a health habit each year, Americans haven’t adopted healthier long-term relationships with food. The International Food Information Council has conducted the Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes Toward Food, Safety, Nutrition & Health poll since 2006, thus enabling us to track peoples’ attitudes and behaviors over the past several years. The latest polling results appear in Is it Time to Rethink Nutrition Communications? A 5-Year Retrospective of Americans’ Attitude toward Food, Nutrition, and Health online in

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What Jerry the Bear means for Health 2.0

A teddy bear in the arms of a child with diabetes can change health care. At least, Jerry the Bear can. Yesterday kicked off the sixth autumn mega-version of the Health 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. Co-founded by Matthew Holt and Indu Subaiya, a long-time health analyst and physician, respectively, this meeting features new-new tools, apps and devices aimed at improving individual and population health, as well as health processes and workflows for physicians, hospitals, pharma, and other stakeholders in the health care ecosystem – even health lawyers, who met on October 7 to discuss up-to-the-minute  e-health law issues. Yesterday was

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Nordstrom and Amazon, where are you in health care service?

When it comes to customer service, retail, banks, airlines and hotels are tops. Health care? Not so good. This sobering finding comes via PwC’s report, Customer experience in healthcare: The moment of truth. PwC pulled data from the company’s Customer Experience Radar survey of 6,000 consumers across industries. This particular analysis looks at consumers’ service views on banking, hospitality, airline, retail vs. health care providers and insurance companies. The chart shows consumers’ answers to a question of whether they are willing to report positive interactions about a customer experience. The graph shows that people are more likely to share opinions

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Good Housekeeping features Facebook for health: health social networks go mainstream

Using social networks for health is no longer a pioneering, first-wave adoption activity: Facebook has gone mainstream in health. What’s the indicator that says we’ve hit the tipping point in consumers going Health 2,0, beyond Paging Doctor Google? A story in the July 2012 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine titled, Miracle on Facebook. What’s powerful about this is that articles on health social networks have been largely focused in health IT trade publications, business magazines like Forbes  (focusing on sustainbale business modeels) and technology channels such as Fast Company and Wired. Looking at Good Housekeeping’s ad pages, its readership is mostly

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Thinking about Dad as Digital “Mom”

What is a Mom, and especially, who is a “Digital Mom?” I’ve been asked to consider this question in a webinar today hosted by Enspektos, who published the report Digging Beneath the Surface: Understanding the Digital Health Mom in May 2012. I wrote my review of that study in Health Populi here on May 15. In today’s webinar, my remarks are couched as “Caveats About the Digital Mom: a multiple persona.” Look at the graphic. On the left, the first persona is a mother with children under 18. Most “mom segmentations” in market research focus on this segment. But what

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Wellness Ignited! Edelman panel talks about how to build a health culture in the U.S.

Dr. Andrew Weil, the iconic guru of all-things-health, was joined by a panel of health stakeholders at this morning’s Edelman salon discussing Wellness Ignited – Now and Next. Representatives from the American Heart Association, Columbia University, Walgreens, Google, Harvard Business School, and urban media mavens Quincy Jones III and Shawn Ullman, who lead Feel Rich, a health media organization, were joined by Nancy Turett, Edelman’s Chief Strategist of Health & Society, in the mix. Each participant offered a statement about what they do related to health and wellness, encapsulating a trend identified by Jennifer Pfahler, EVP of Edelman. Trend 1: Integrative

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Make 2012 the year of living health-fully

When I would meet up with clients and friends during the latter half of 2011, people whom I hadn’t seen for months would do a double-take when they saw me. “What have you done?” they have asked. In this first post of 2012, I will share with Health Populi readers my story of 2011 — a year of living health-fully for me. One of the blessings of my work-life is that I have access to some of the great minds in health and health care. But not until I began to personally harness their wisdom, intentionally incorporating what they’ve learned into my own life-flow and

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Brand “Health:” where is it in the Top 100 most valuable brands?

Apple has supplanted Google as the world’s #1 most valuable brand, worth more brand-wise than Microsoft and Coca-Cola combined (#5 and #6). the other most valuable global brands are IBM, McDonalds, AT&T, Marlboro, China Mobile, and GE. Technology brands have significantly grown in value with consumers allocating more personal disposable income to products like tablet computers and smartphones, even in the face of recessionary economics the world over. Technology companies are now 1/3 of the top 100 brands. Millward Brown, the brand consultancy that is part of WPP, the global communications firm, has conducted the BrandZ top 100 most valuable

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The home health hub is digital, mobile and personal

Bet on it, live from Las Vegas at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES): the new home health hub is digital, mobile and personal. More consumers are morphing TV and video watching from the “set” to the computer and mobile platforms, and DIYing more activities of daily living. Health (for both wellness and sickness care) is transforming in this process. This transformation is enabled through consumers’ adoption of technologies that they’re using in their daily lives for entertainment, household management, and communications. Broadband and wireless provide the infrastructure for health care to move beyond the doctor’s office and the hospital, so engaged patients who choose to do

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Health is a growing business for Nestlé

Their website now talks about it being the “Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company.” Most of us still think of it as the biggest food company in the world. It’s spending one-half billion dollars to expand in health. Nestlé, which brings baby food, bottled water, bars of chocolate and breakfast cereal to kitchen tables is now bringing us Health. The new group will be known as Nestlé Health Science. The company’s existing health business is already valued at about $1.6 billion.  “The combination of health economics, changing demographics and advances in health science show that our existing health care systems, which focus on treating

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Blondie and Dagwood on the health economy

People in the U.S. covered by employer-sponsored health insurance assess their health insurance choices with the help of their human resource departments. Here, Blondie and Dagwood are having a discussion about three alternatives: A low cost plan A higher cost plan with better coverage A high-deductible health plan for doctors who are outside of the plan’s network. Dagwood’s solution? “Stay healthy.” Would that it were so easy! Evaluating health insurance options is no simple task, even for the savviest, Consumer Reports-reading consumers. Health citizens who want to engage as health care consumers look for trusted sources on how to make rational

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Gaming, Mars & Venus – Implications for Health Games

Call them “kinder, gentler,” gamers, according to ComScore: women like gaming as much as men do, but the kinds of games they like are different from their male peers. I wrote about ComScore‘s report, Women on the Web: How Women Are Shaping the Internet, on July 30 2010. The post was titled, Women Are the Digital Mainstream, Especially in Health. The report includes detailed survey data on women’s use of games. The chart here illustrates the Mars vs. Venus differences in tastes for online games: men prefer action, adventure and sports, along with education. Women like online puzzles, card games, trivia,

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Women are the digital mainstream – especially in health

Social networking is key to women’s experience with the Internet, according to comScore’s report, Women on the Web: How Women are Shaping the Internet. Women spend 39% more time on social networks online than men do. comScore studied the “Mars versus Venus” differences between men and women online, discovering that gender stereotypes only go so far. The chart shows the differences between women and men and their e-retail relationships. In stereotypical “men” categories of computer hardware and software, and sports/outdoor, for example, men and women aren’t all that different — only a couple of percentage points difference at most for these categories. Health has

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Health and entertainment: kids like food with Dora, Scooby and Shrek

What do Dora the Explorer, Scooby-Doo and Shrek have in common? They’re persuading kids to eat less nutritious food, according to a study in the July 2010 Pediatrics journal (Volume 126. Number 1). A team from The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity studied children’s taste for food that’s sold in cartoon-character themed packages, versus products in plain packaging. The verdict? Kids think the cartoon-themed food tastes better.  The study was done among 40 so-called “ethnically diverse” children 4-6 years old in New Haven, CT, preschools. Health Populi’s Hot Points: Since Vance Packard wrote the seminal book on advertising, The Hidden

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Taco Bell does nutrition at the drive-thru window – pondering Pollan’s Food Rules

1 in 2 Americans visits so-called quick service restaurants (QSR) twice a month, 29% visit 3-5 times a month, and 16% visit 6 or more times a month. Taco Bell sponsored the America’s Drive-Thru Survey and found that 7 in 10 Americans think having better choices in drive-thru’s would encourage them to eat better. Only 50% of Americans believe they can stick to a low-calorie diet while ordering through drive-thru’s. 9 in 10 would try better choices of their favorite menu items if they were offered. Taco Bell generates 70% of its business via drive-thru. This press release explains the

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Embarrassing bodies – preventing people from dying of embarassment in the UK

 “Don’t be embarrassed by your body. Learn to love it,” the voice on the video positively commands. Comcast, are you listening?   Channel 4 in the United Kingdom hosts the television show, Embarrassing Bodies. There’s also a website providing health information that is detailed, audacious, graphic, and absolutely engaging.   On it, you’ll see close-ups of breasts, testicles, vulvae, and most other body parts in Grey’s Anatomy that are suitable for self-examination. The show launched in April 2008 and was watched by over 12 million people. Since there, Embarrassing Bodies has seen countless downloads of health videos, page views on

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Happy 50th Birthday, Barbie – A Doctor for 22 Years

The Barbie doll was born in March 1959, marking this month her 50th birthday. She began life as a beach beauty and fashion model in a zebra-striped swimsuit. By 1965, she scored many careers including American Airlines Stewardess, Nurse, Teacher, and Astronaut. In 2006, USA Today named her one of the Top 101 Most Influential People Who Never Lived. It took 28 years for Barbie to morph into Doctor Barbie, shown in the photo on the left. Note the tagline printed on the front bottom of the box: “She changes from doctor to glamorous date!” This first Doctor Barbie came

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Stress through the ages (or, it’s good to be 65)

Younger people are way more stressed out than people over 65, according to a poll sponsored by the American Psychological Association.   HarrisInteractive has published data in its latest Healthcare Newsletter titled, “Adults Over 65 Experience Far Less Stress Than Adults in All Other Age Groups.” These findings are part of a deeper dive into the APA’s report published in October 2007, Stress in America. The highest levels of stress in America are in the 35-49 age cohort, followed by people aged 25-34.   6 in 10 people aged 35-49 say they are concerned about the level of stress in their

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When health becomes beautiful, consumers will pay

Or, The Lovely Bones (health care version).   I have an acquaintance whose bone density scan told her she is at high risk for osteoporosis. No surprise: the condition runs in her family. For several years, she has been paying a luxury-segment department store counter $300 every two months for her skin creme, which promises that she will be ageless as she ages into her fifties, sixties, and beyond.   But she has not yet filled her prescription for an osteoporosis-preventing drug.   She doesn’t have prescription drug coverage. She thinks the drug is too high-priced. It’s about $300 for

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Health, the New Status Symbol

We’d rather be healthy than wealthy, according to a new survey from Manning Selvage & Lee (MS&L), the PR firm that’s part of the global communications company, Publicis. MS&L polled Americans’ beliefs on health and self-esteem. Three-quarters (72%) of Americans say that being physically healthy is a symbol of personal success. 91% of Americans said they’d rather be described ads “healthy” than “wealthy.” 71% said they’d rather be seen as someone who “looks really healthy” vs. someone who’s nicely “put together or well-dressed.” These will be glad tidings for MS&L’s client base. MS&L serves a global health clientele which includes

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The true costs of cigarettes = $222 a pack, and the Rolling Stone ad

A pack of cigarettes ranges in price from a low of $3.35 in South Carolina to a high of $6.45 in New Jersey. But the real personal costs of cigarettes — per pack smoked — are 66 times greater (in the case of that smoking South Carolinian). The analysis can be found in a new working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research. W. Kip Viscusi and Joni Hersch calculate this cost in terms of personal health risks: for a man, each pack of cigarettes smoked reduces the value of his life by $222; for a woman, each pack

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Happy birthday, Prozac!

The Financial Times celebrates the 20th birthday of Prozac in the newspaper’s Nov 17/18th issue. It’s valuable to look at the rise and fall of Prozac, the brand; the rise of its generic equivalent; and how the drug has profoundly impacted one consumer’s life. Prozac Market. Before it treated depression, Prozac was thought to be an anti-hypertensive. When that didn’t seem to work, Eli Lilly considered it for an anti-obesity treatment. Strike two, clinical-wise. Finally, Lilly took the drug to market to fight depression after it was approved by the FDA on December 29, 1987. In two years, Prozac became

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Target marketing: no pink guns left behind?

In 2004, 20% of homicides were directly associated with intimate partner conflict (i.e., one in which an intimate partner killed another partner). Intimate partner violence resulting in death was most common among victims aged 40-44 years. Murder is the leading cause of death for pregnant women, according to the National Organization of Women. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, spends about $43 million a year on ways to reduce deaths and injuries from drowning, poisoning, suicide, industrial accidents, house fires and domestic violence. Of that sum, only $2.3 million

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