How employees manage well-being depends on who and where they are

This post originally appeared on Benefits Pro

While virtually every worker cares about achieving financial security and maintaining positive relationships, the differences in how workers manage their well-being can vary widely by age, gender, income – and even where they live in the country, according to the report “Consumer Health POV 2017.”

Welltok, meQuilibrium and Zipongo surveyed 2,000 full-time employees and found some interesting demographic differences:

-Women care more about eating healthy; men care more about getting physical activity.

-West-coasters care more about physical activity level and getting adequate sleep than other regions.

-Lower-income Americans care more about controlling or managing an existing condition, compared to other income brackets.

-Those married with children are slightly more aware of their physical activity levels than other respondents.

-Gen X is more stressed about work than any other age group, which is self-reported to have a greater impact on productivity and focus at work.

“Not surprisingly, millennials and younger Gen Xers are feeling the stress of ‘adulting,” which includes major life change situations, like buying a new house or starting/building a family,” the authors write. “Analysis of responses by region, exposed that West-coasters are the least stressed about work, and care the most about maintaining and building relationships. Whereas, Northeasterners are more stressed about work and care less about maintaining positive relationships.”

More employers are now starting to put more emphasis on stress management and building resilience, which is the ability to adapt well and recover quickly from stress or adversity, according to the report. No wonder: resilient people are five times more likely to have very good or excellent health.

Male survey respondents view themselves as more resilient than women, and women are harder on themselves, with 30 percent reporting a resilience level of 6 or below. Respondents who are married with children rate themselves more resilient.

Eating healthy helps – and there are demographic differences in the diets of survey respondents as well. Women are more likely to cite time and convenience challenges as reasons for not eating well, whereas, more men say that they don’t eat well because it is not a priority.

A majority (67 percent) of West-coasters say they eat healthy, followed by Northeasterners (59 percent) – though that region also has the biggest disparity between those who eat healthy often and those who never do. Not surprisingly, young, single Americans reported the poorest eating habits, particularly single people with dependents (56 percent).

“For individuals who do not eat healthy often, convenience reigns as the biggest hurdle,” the authors write. “However, for those who usually do not eat healthy, they are also struggling with costs, don’t know where to start or don’t view it as a priority.”

The wide disparity across demographic groups underscores the need for a more personalized approach to health and well-being programs to address individual needs, according to the report.

“It starts with understanding and predicting those individual needs, which can only be derived by combining consumer inputs (e.g., personal goals, tracking device activity), robust consumer data sets (e.g., voting records, purchasing behaviors) and available clinical data (e.g., claims, encounter),” the authors write.

The survey results also emphasize the need for employers to view well-being holistically, by providing resources that not only address the physical aspects of health, but also emotional, financial and social connectedness. Online platforms that integrate data from resilience training programs and on-demand healthy eating programs can greatly help in this endeavor.