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What Health and Fitness Trends Are Consumers Following (and Why)

What Health and Fitness Trends Are Consumers Following (and Why)

People exercising on a treadmill in health club.Spring is officially under way. That means summer is right around the corner, and that also means it’s time to start shedding that winter wear—and maybe even some of that extra winter weight.

And while some of us have a love/hate relationship with food and fitness, we cannot avoid focusing on either one if we want to get our bodies back in shape and into proper beach attire.

There’s hardly a lack of choices when it comes to healthy diet and exercise options for consumers. In fact, the health industry can be a marketer’s dream, but it’s all about knowing who your audience is and what they’re consuming now, in order to give them what they value in the future.

So it got us wondering—what’s hot (and not) in today’s health trends? We used SurveyMonkey Audience and asked over 400 Americans just that.

Here’s what we found out!

Feeding the consumer

Despite what can sometimes feel like an overwhelming amount of health food options and diet/lifestyle choices in front of consumers’ faces every day, over half of Americans (58%) report not following a consistent, specific diet type. So what about the other 42%? Who are these people, what diets are most popular and what are the reasons behind following a specific diet?

  • The majority of respondents choose to eat their particular diet because they simply feel better and/or have a medical condition
  • More men (56%) than women (43%) are following particular diet choices for weight loss
  • However, women, and those ages 18-44, are far more likely to choose a particular diet based on ethical reasons
  • Low Carb is the top diet of choice amongst ladies and gents alike. The largest gender gap when it comes to diet types is vegetarianism, with 15% of women and 5% of men going meat-free
  • The Macrobiotic diet was the least popular diet choice of respondents


A number of respondents also wrote in that they follow low calorie, low fat and lactose or dairy-free diets.

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It seems clear that most Americans are following a particular diet simply to feel better, as opposed to being influenced by trendier reasons like weight loss or marketing campaigns. For example, none of the respondents who said they were following a gluten-free diet said they were influenced by a marketing campaign. The majority of people also said they’d consider trying one of these diet trends if their doctor recommended it as a health benefit.

Faddy foods

Regardless of eating for a specialized diet type, most of us tend to have an opinion on which trending diets we deem to be “fads”. Celebrities like Gwenyth Paltrow (macrobiotic), Beyonce´ (part-time vegan) and Matthew McConaughey (Paleo) help bring many of these diets to the mainstream media. And once the word is out, marketers and advertisers don’t hesitate in letting consumers know all about the latest “in” health food trend(s).

When respondents were asked which diets they find to be most likely a flash-in-the-pan, this is what they said:

  • Juicing (58%), Paleo (54%) and raw (46%) are the trendiest
  • Interestingly, 13% of people who said they’re currently juicing also said that they thought juicing was a fad
  • The gluten-free diet still seems to be up for debate since 42% of folks put it on their trendy radar
  • Some may be surprised that vegan and/or vegetarianism and the Mediterranean diet came in at the bottom of the fad list
  • Although, the largest number of respondents who felt vegetarian/veganism is a fad reside in the Mid-West—one of the countries largest areas for agriculture


Fitness favorites

From Tae bo, to Zumba, to P90x—the exercise world is certainly not without their own fitness fads. And with the recent wearables boom, there seems to be an increasing interest in (and demand for)  keeping track of every waking and sleeping hour, measuring every step and documenting every calorie burned.

However, when we asked Americans if they participated in a list of current fitness trends, we found that:

  • The majority responded that they do not participate in CrossFit and/or HIIT, Barre classes, Pilates, Yoga, bodyweight training, suspension training or work with a personal trainer
  • And despite all of the chatter around CrossFit and HIIT, only 6% of our respondents participate in these trendy exercises
  • Yoga is the most popular amongst women
  • Body weight training is most popular amongst men
  • There are even still devotees for good old-fashioned Jazzercise


Lastly, some popular fitness options amongst respondents (while not as hip) are activities like walking, swimming and cycling.

So while it may seem many of these health trends are the talk of the town, at the end of the day, consumers aren’t too interested in the latest trend. Of course, all it takes is a little market research to help keep you a lean, mean marketing machine.

What’s your favorite diet or fitness trend? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Ready to get started with SurveyMonkey Audience? Click here for more information.

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  • Spencer Balensiefer

    Thanks for making the graphs so small they can’t be read.

    • KTsurveymonkey

      Hi Spencer-

      Sorry about that. The images are clickable so that you can open them and view them better!

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