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Does wellness spending impact happiness?

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

New Global Wellness Institute (GWI) research shows a link between spending on wellness and happiness and also greater longevity.

This finding is part of GWI’s historic new report, ‘Defining Wellness Policy’, which is the first research to define wellness policy and make a compelling, evidence-backed argument as to why it’s so direly needed.

The research demonstrates that spending on wellness is strongly and positively correlated with increased longevity and happiness, not only for the ‘wealthy well’ but across the board. It reveals that for every roughly $800 annual increase in wellness expenditures per person, happiness levels increase 7% and life expectancy increases 1.26 years.

States the GWI research report: “As we dived into this research, it quickly became obvious that health and wellness should be embedded in the priorities for all policymaking,” said Katherine Johnston, GWI senior research fellow. “As compared to sustainability – which has been in policy conversations for so long – it is astonishing that no one has talked about wellness as a comprehensive, cross-cutting policy category in government circles. The health of people should be paramount, just like the health of the planet, and really, the two go hand-in-hand.”

This research sets the stage for a series of Wellness Policy Toolkits to be released in 2023, which will provide governments, non-profits, communities and businesses a roadmap on how to take action in seven domains of wellness policy: physical activity, healthy eating, mental wellness, traditional/complementary medicine, wellness in the built environment, wellness at work, and wellness in tourism.

To identify the relationship between wellness spending, happiness levels and health outcomes, GWI researchers partnered with Dr Shun Wang, a key author and statistician of the World Happiness Report. The researchers utilised data from GWI’s wellness economy reports (measuring wellness spending in more than 200 markets), Gallup’s World Poll (for global happiness measurements) and the World Bank (for national life expectancy and income levels) – and then carefully adjusted the data for wealth levels and population size.

“This is the first time that anyone has analysed wellness economy spending alongside data on happiness and life expectancy, and we found that investment in wellness is definitely linked to positive outcomes in these metrics,” said Ophelia Yeung, GWI senior research fellow. “We believe that wellness policy is crucial for bringing the benefits of wellness to everyone, especially to those who cannot pay for it or who face barriers to living a healthy lifestyle.”

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