America's Wellness Consumerism


  • Karina Veronica Sarandrea University of Florida



wellness consumerism, wellness economy, wellness, public health, health misinformation, U.S. healthcare


The purpose of the study is to investigate historical “wellness consumerism” and why it has continued to exist. Wellness consumerism is distinct from concepts like health consumerism in that it is not strictly related to or reinforced by the U.S. health care system. The opposite has tended to occur because of rampant online health misinformation. Present research does not unite public health, online health misinformation, and socioeconomic influences (e.g. the wellness movement and wellness economy) under a common framework nor does it examine them with a historical perspective. In addition, present research does not examine the relationship between online health misinformation and wellness trends. Medical journals, the history of the wellness movement, and oral history interviews from witnesses of the wellness movement were used to explore wellness consumerism’s impact on people and public health. A study was conducted on a random sample of Amazon dietary supplements to investigate the relationship between health misinformation and affiliation with wellness trends. The results provide strong evidence for an association between the two, suggesting that producers of the wellness economy may be likely to spread health misinformation. Wellness consumerism resulted from co-optation of wellness by producers and has sustained longevity because it fills a gap in healthcare demand and worsens existing distrust in it. Wellness consumerism promotes a cycle of health information sharing that has negative implications for public health. This study highlights health problems uniquely associated with wellness consumerism and sheds light on other possible future socioeconomic challenges to public health while providing a basis for further consumer protections or health legislation that may be discussed in U.S. policy circles


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Social & Behavioral Sciences, Business, Education