Americans are constantly being marketed towards new healthy changes that we should make in our lifestyles- from incorporating plant-heavy diets for heart health to working out to 20 minute online cardio fad routines. The constantly changing health and lifestyle trends, today, suggest Americans place a heavy emphasis on being as healthy as can be and are willing to try numerous routines to achieve the pinnacle of health. However, is practicing health in our daily lives the new norm, or is it just a passing trend?
One change which suggests a shift towards a healthy lifestyle is the increase in the consumption of organic foods. In 2020, 5.7% of the food sold in the United States was organic.  Since health-conscious consumers desire to achieve a state of health through their choices, and organic food is widely regarded as more nutritious than non-organic food, health-conscious consumers are more likely to purchase organic foods.  It is intriguing to note that, because of the idea of subjective norms, individuals are more likely to purchase organic foods if they feel that others expect them to purchase organically or if they feel that purchasing organically will enable them to identify with others who consume organic food. 
Interestingly, the interest in organic produce has heightened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Patton and Rembert revealed that in the 17-week period leading up to June 27, 2020, there was a 25% increase in the sales of U.S. organic food and drinks.  A potential explanation of this dramatic increase may be that, while being forced to remain home for months during lockdown, people decidedly chose to use the extra time in their days to make a change in their lifestyles for health- from healthier eating habits to working out more. Another potential factor contributing to the rise in organic sales during the beginning of the pandemic is that there were limited options on which to spend discretionary income. Bars, movie theaters, salons, and many restaurants were closed at this time. So, people chose to spend more of their disposable income on food, specifically, more costly, organic food.
Also on the rise is the prioritization of mindfulness and mental wellbeing through practices such as yoga and meditation and limiting time spent on social media and mobile devices. Between 2002 and 2017, yoga prevalence has risen from 5.1% to 13.7%.  Associated to this rise in yoga practice, clothing marketed as athleisure has also experienced a dramatic uptick in sales, especially since the beginning of the pandemic when comfort became increasingly sought after by consumers. Considering that a larger proportion of the population today is seen shopping in grocery stores and running errands whilst wearing athleisure brands such as Lululemon, Athleta, and Alo Yoga, can we assume that the number of individuals working out increased to reflect the change in clothing? Do we assume that athleisure is simply the new fashion trend? Perhaps we ask: why can’t both options be true? It can be true that, while athleisure fashion trends have increased the number of people who look like they are into fitness, many more people today could also be into fitness because of the recent health trends.
Similarly, while reflecting on the questions posed at the beginning of this article, it can simultaneously be true that health is now trendy and that the healthy lifestyle trends have made health the norm. Although the idea of trends often has a negative connotation because of the assumption that they are fleeting, it is important to realize that trends can become engrained into the fabric of mainstream culture to the point that they become societal norms. For example, while many today may choose to consume organically because they fall prey to marketing health trends, if more individuals choose to buy organically, more organic options will become available, thereby reducing the cost (and hindrance) of organic consumption and making it more accessible to a wider range of income levels. When the attainment of health becomes the norm rather than the trend, achieving wellness should become easier.
1. USDA ERS - Organic Market Summary and Trends. (2022.). Retrieved May 7, 2022, from https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/natural-resources-environment/organic-agriculture/organic-market-summary-and-trends/.
2. Hermawan, A., & Yusran, H. L. (2013). Healthy lifestyle and Consumer Willingness to Pay Organic Foods. International Conference on Business and Management.
3. Patton, L., & Rembert, E. (2020). Americans Use Pandemic to Get in Shape With More Organic Food. Bloomberg.com. Retrieved May 7, 2022, from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-15/americans-use-pandemic-to-get-in-shape-with-more-organic-food?sref=pqQBM94V.
4. Zhang, Y., Lauche, R., Cramer, H., Munk, N., & Dennis, J. A. (2021). Increasing trend of yoga practice among U.S. adults from 2002 to 2017. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 27(9), 778–785. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2020.0506.
Author: Aseelah Saiyed
Editor: Lauryn Agron
Health scientist: Aseelah Saiyed