Canadian Millennials - Health and Wellbeing

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Canadian Millennials - Health and Wellbeing

Ninty-six percent of Canadian Millennials care the most about great healthcare benefits when choosing between two companies that offered similar pay and job responsibilities. For tracking their health goals, 40% of Millennials in North America use an electronic diary for tracking their health information, and only 41% of Millennials use their doctors as their go-to for information.

Financial well-being

  • Millennials in Canada are considered to be more financially knowledgeable than other generations. Additionally, they are considered to be doing better than Gen-Xers did at the same point in their life.
  • However, Millennial-led families are more likely to have student debts or some type of outstanding student loan and credit card balances. Additionally, Millennials are more likely to have no retirement savings.
  • Sixty percent of Millennials say that the amount they have saved is none, with 40% having saved between zero and $25,000.
  • In every other financial aspect, Millennials are performing unexpectedly well. Millennial-led families have higher incomes and have a lot more assets, as well as better access to workplace pensions combined with higher pension assets.
  • Millennials are also as likely as Gen-X families to tailor their budgets to own a home. Overall, it takes Canadian Millennials need 13 years of full-time work to save for a 20% down payment on an average priced home.

Work well-being

  • According to Fitnescity, a Canadian and US fitness chain, 96% of Canadian Millennials stated that great healthcare benefits would be the crucial factor when choosing between two companies that offered similar pay and job responsibilities.
  • According to a survey by Gallup, "Millennials approach a role and a company with a highly defined set of expectations."
  • Millennials are looking for their work to have meaning and purpose, and will plan in a way that will allow them to find "greater flexibility and autonomy, along with the ability to lead a healthy life."

Health planning

  • Fitness and health technology is a big enabler for Millennials when it comes to reaching their fitness goals. Millennial women spend more than 200% more time in sports, health and fitness apps compared to the rest of the population.
  • Being healthy does not equal to not being sick but is considered to be a daily pursuit, with self-collected data being a big part of it.
  • Eighty-one percent of Millennials in North America stated they would use a confidential website or app in order to track their health information, while 40% already admit to using an electronic diary for tracking their health information.
  • On the other hand, Millennials do not trust their doctors as much as other generations, with only 41% of Millennials seeing their doctor as the best source of information.

Fitness and gym goals

  • Millennials are using testing, which used to be reserved for professional athletes and elite sports labs and weight loss clinics. Testing is now part of the routine for Millennial casual gym-goers.
  • A rising number of Millennials are currently using "professional, lab-quality tests for body composition and metabolic testing, aerobic capacity testing, blood testing, and even genetic testing."
  • Millennials in North America (including the US and Canada) spend close to $112,000 on fitness purchases during their entire lifetime. This equates to monthly costs as follows: $33 for gym memberships, $56 for health supplements, $35 for clothing and accessories, $17 for meal plans, and $14 for trainers.
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Canadian Millennials - Health and Wellbeing 2

Some ways in which Canadian millennials create and maintain their health and well-being goals are accessing the healthcare system on a regular basis, managing their health using technology, maintaining good sleep habits, researching health information, and making fitness goals a part of their New Years' resolutions. A deep dive into these findings has been provided below.

Frequently Accessing the Healthcare System

  • A recently published Iposos survey revealed that young adult Canadians (18-34) use the health care system frequently.
  • Young adult Canadians visit a physician approximately 11 times each year.
  • Canada has a national health-care system called Medicare which the country began developing in 1947.

Managing Health Using Technology

  • Compared to older generations, millennial-aged Canadians are regarded as the "most eager adopters of technology" for the purposes of health management. Dr. Gigi Osler, president of the Canadian Medical Association suggests that this is due to the fact that millennials are "very comfortable with technology" having grown up with it and therefore are more comfortable incorporating technology within their personal health care.
  • Survey data shows that 47% of millennial Canadians would allow for at least half of their doctor visits to be virtual visits. This was true for only 38% of Gen X and 31% of Boomers.
  • Canadian millennials are using devices such as FitBits and online apps to help track their health, and are doing so more often than older Canadians.

Maintaining Good Sleep Habits

  • In a survey of 1,000 Canadians that asked what their top three actions are for their health and well-being, millennials ranked 'monitoring their sleep habits' higher than other generations.
  • 29% of millennial-aged Canadians set a regular bedtime, higher than the national average.
  • Canadian millennials are incorporating a range of habits into their bedtime routine more so than the average Canadian. This includes drinking tea, using essential oils, and performing relaxation techniques.

Researching Health Information

  • In a survey of 1,000 Canadians that asked what their top three actions are for their health and well-being, millennials ranked 'researching health information' higher than other generations. Similarly, a 2019 Forbes article notes that millennials "are more inclined" to research health online than older generations.
  • In Canada, 74% of the population reported going online to research health-related topics within the preceding month. Millennials are currently the largest generation in Canada, making up 27% of the population.
  • When researching health online, millennials are looking at doctor and hospital quality ratings, blogs and forums, and health information portals such as WebMD and Mayo Clinic.

Setting Fitness Goals at the Start of the New Year

  • In Canada, nutrition and fitness-related goals rank among the top New Year's resolutions, according to a 2017 survey.
  • 30% of Canadian millennials prioritize fitness and nutrition when it comes to their top New Years' resolutions. Additionally, this resolution is 10% higher among women than men.
  • Some examples of fitness-related goals that Canadians make as New Year's resolutions are increasing the amount of time they spend exercising, setting weight loss goals, and aiming to increase their muscle tone.
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Canadian Millennials - Health & Well-being Challenges

The challenges that Canadian millennials face when attempting to create and maintain their health and well-being goals are job precarity, doctor and care avoidance, less awareness of sexual health, and increased use of social technology.

Job Precarity

  • At the early stage of their careers, many Canadian millennials tend to work in a precarious situation, where they are less likely to acquire workplace health resources, such as extended benefits, counseling support, or paid sick days.
  • Based on research by the Canadian Federation of Students, about 300,000 millennials applied for free internship programs to boost their future career by collecting more job experiences.
  • Based on a Canadian national survey conducted in 2018, around 22% of Canadian millennials are working in a dubious situation that is characterized by contract work, part-time hours, unpredictable incomes, and the lack of paid sick days.
  • Approximately 44% of Canadian millennials have reported job precarity, and almost 50% of them also stated that they suffered from depression and anxiety from their work situation. Job precarity may cause additional social and economic challenges for millennials, including increasing personal debts, rising living costs, lesser health access, lowered possibility of receiving a pension, and lower retirement savings.
  • Another study conducted in the UK also stated that people that are working in stressful jobs are more likely to experience chronic diseases.
  • Barrett, a graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology who completed her education in 2016, reported that she still sstruggle to find her career path even after having three jobs at home. She also stated that she's concerned with the rising price of houses and how companies demand their job candidates have higher education.

Doctor and Care Avoidance

  • According to popular belief, one of the tasks of "adulting" is to create a doctor's appointment to schedule regular health checkups and declare independence.
  • Around 50% of Canadian millennials reported avoiding doctor visits to save money and choose health insurance with the least expensive plans.
  • According to a study conducted by the Greyhealth Group and Kantar Health, only 58% of Canadian millennials trust their doctors.
  • On the other hand, around 58% of millennials are more likely to choose Google to find information about health and nutrition. They tend to be skeptical about prescribed drugs that are recommended by their doctors, and therefore, they incline to research on community forums to find more information about the drugs.
  • Around 47% of Canadian millennials prefer virtual doctor visits. They believe that this method is far more convenient, time-saving, and effective.
  • Almost 50% of Canadian millennials also reported that they are more likely to utilize mobile devices that can monitor their health, keep track of their vital rates, discover harmful substances in their environment, and allow them to know if their health measures are not in the normal range.

Less Awareness of Sexual Health

  • Based on an analysis by CBC News, the rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea among Canadians have increased. For instance, there were reportedly 121,244 cases of chlamydia and 23,708 cases of gonorrhea in 2016, and the numbers jumped to 126,785 and 28,385 in the following year, respectively.
  • Experts believed that the surge of STD cases in Canada may be caused by the decreasing usage of condoms. For instance, only 54% of Canadian millennials wear condoms all the time or some of the time, according to a survey conducted by Skyn Condoms.
  • According to Healthy, Canadian millennials are more likely to view HIV as a manageable disease given the fact that they never witnessed the AIDS epidemic.
  • Another study conducted by the Trojan, the University of Guelph and the Sex Information, and Education Council of Canada (SIECCAN) on university students within the age range of the millennial group reported that 26% of female Canadian millennials and 16% of male Canadian millennials never used condoms.

Increasing Use of Social Technology

  • According to a report from StatCounter, 88% of Canadian millennials use Facebook every week, 18% use Pinterest, 72% use YouTube, 30% use Twitter, and 59% use Instagram.
  • Experts believe that average Canadian millennials are addicted to their smartphones, which may lead to excessive screen time.
  • According to a study conducted by Alcon Canada, the average Canadian millennial usually spends 13.1 hours per day staring at digital screens.
  • Canadian millennials generally spend their screen time using a computer screen, watching television, using a smartphone, and staring at a tablet.
  • Excessive screen time may cause dry and sore eyes, blurry vision, difficulty with driving at night, impaired hand function, thumb pain, and disturbed sleep cycles.
  • People who spend too much time staring at a screen may also experience Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) which is characterized by eyestrain, blurred vision, headache, as well as neck and back pain.

Research Strategy

To determine challenges that Canadian millennials face when they attempt to create and maintain their health, we began our research by looking through publications, news, articles, expert blogs, and statistical reports from trusted sources, such as Ottawa Citizen, Global News Canada, and Vision Critical. We then browsed through studies, research reports, journal articles, and scientific literature to collect additional information related to the challenges. Our research team also reviewed Canadian government publications to gather more data to strengthen our findings. These insights were collected from the latest topics that experts widely discussed, and therefore, we were able to make sure that these challenges are trending health challenges that Canadian millennials currently face.

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