Health trends in Lansing being pushed by local businesses

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By Ella Kovacs
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

Most people are aware of fad diets and health trends that sweep around the nation and disappear within a few months. Some remain longer. Sometimes, health consciousness seems to settle itself into a particular area or city.

Juice Nation sign at night. Photo courtesy of Ella Kovacs.

Juice Nation sign at night. Photo courtesy of Ella Kovacs.

The health scene in Lansing appears to have a following for “trendy” health food, such as juice bars and salad bars. The local community, from college kids to elders to families, are enjoying these outlets, whether or not it’s actually making a difference on the city’s health as a whole.

Leaf Salad Bar is a healthy eating option just outside of Lansing. Its popularity is wild among all ages of health-conscious people, said Gayle Trudell, an employee at Leaf. “We have college students, elderly people, moms bringing their kids in.”

Trudell thinks the health scene is going up, especially with all the readily available options for fast food alternatives. She said that when people are very busy, they’ll come in and get a smoothie, which is like a whole meal by itself.

Robert Karch is an expert of health studies from American University of Washington D.C. He says that most people are overwhelmed by health trends, and the overexposure to them.

This ease of consumer availability has also somewhat reduced the role of health officials. Karch talked about how people are very good at developing apps that go right past health officials and straight to the consumer. He said the Fitbit was an example of a piece of trendy technology health accessory that in reality does very little except provide the use with simple information.

Karch also talked about the fact that regardless of whatever health trends and fad diets seem to be catching on, obesity rates are still staggering.

Adult obesity in Michigan in 2001 to 2008, above the national average. Graph courtesy of www.michigan.gov

Adult obesity in Michigan from 2001 to 2008, above the national average. Graph courtesy of www.michigan.gov

The chart to the right shows Michigan’s adult obesity averages from 2001 to 2008, most of the time being above the national average. Fast forward to 2014 and the adult obesity rate is down to 30.7 percent according to stateofobesity.org/states/mi/.

Better Health Store supplies groceries and supplements for the health-conscious.

Carry Abood, a cashier at Better Health Store, said that the people who shop there are looking to maintain and improve their health. She added that most of these shoppers are middle-aged.

Another woman working there, Laura Thurston, talked about how they are constantly promoting health trends and fads, always staying on top of the new thing.

These fads have varying levels of success, and some last longer than others. “It could take two weeks, it could take a month,” said Thurston, regarding how long it takes for a different health trend to become the hottest new thing.

Karch talked about how several years ago, there was “limited exposure” to these trends. Now, with the internet, there are loads and loads of information readily available and being pushed at the consumer constantly.

“People go from fad to fad to fad looking for the quick fix, instead of looking for the fundamentals,” said Karch.

Juice Nation is just a block away from the Capitol, right in the mix of one of the busiest parts of Lansing’s downtown. Juice bars can sometimes be associated with short-lived health fads, but Juice Nation proves otherwise.

Tameko Richard, who works at Juice Nation, said they have been there in Lansing for over 6 years. She talked about how some of these trends are not just trends, they are a way of life.

“Juicing is not a health trend, its healthy for the body. Let food be thy medicine,” said Richard.

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