animal protein. One of the best evidences of this trend is the growing popularity and social media following of the nonprofit Meatless Monday initiative, developed in association with John Hopkins' Bloomberg School of Public Health.
4. Digital accountability. Americans understand the need for exercise but often lack the motivation and accountability to make it part of their regular routine. Enter a bevy of new social media platforms that offer this encouragement digitally. Stikk.com empowers consumers to create "Commitment Contracts" to lose weight, exercise regularly or quit smoking, while the Reebok Promise Keeper awards users with a Facebook or Twitter "call-out" when they complete a scheduled workout. 2012 will also be marked by more products like FitBit Ultra or Jawbone Up, which allow participants to wirelessly track their physical activity and progress online.
5. DIY health? There's an app for that. The DIY health movement that started as a backlash to high medical costs and impersonal service will continue to surface in 2012 in the form of smartphone applications enabling consumers to monitor their health 24/7/365. Examples range from Withering's Blood Pressure Monitor, which takes the user's blood pressure and sends it directly to a doctor, to the Skin Scan, which scans and monitors moles over time. The 9,000+ health-related apps in the Apple App Store is expected to balloon to 13,000 by the end of 2012.
"These trends are consistent with the growing importance of health in America -- if not yet as a daily routine than certainly as a primary goal in 2012 for three out of four consumers," explained Mike Weisman, president of the Values Institute at DGWB. "It's not an exaggeration to say that health is the new prestige barometer in this country -- meaning that the great majority of Americans would rather be considered healthy rather than wealthy."
"Certainly, this trend will have major implications for marketers and retailers looking to sway consumer opinion in the New Year and beyond."