Although pizza and burgers will probably always be staples of most teenager’s diets, today’s teens may occasionally opt for a side salad instead of fries or water in place of sugary sodas. Thanks to education programs aimed at reducing childhood obesity, 45% of teens say they watch what they eat and kids are more aware of the benefits of good nutrition and regular exercise than ever before. Many schools now have their own gardens, offer fresh fruits and vegetables in their cafeterias, and encourage kids to participate in sports programs. Yet, they are still teenagers, unsure of themselves and under pressure to succeed. Here, we explore Generation Z’s attitude toward health and wellness, the challenges they face, and how marketers can better reach them through relevant messages.
Teens Work It Out
Researchers found that 78% of teenagers say they engage in some form of exercise once a week or more and 53% of all teens participate in high school sports. Which is not surprising when you factor in a recent survey that rated sports and outdoor activities almost as ”cool” as technology and video games. Team sports offer kids a way to connect and serves as an antidote to tech overkill. Kids say they love the teamwork, competitiveness, and relaxing outlet that exercise offers. What are they playing? Soccer, basketball, and running/track are among the most-played sports while football and basketball are the most-watched sports by teens.
The Pressure Is On
Teens are often insecure about their appearance but the pressure to look good on social media has intensified these feelings—53% of teens say how others perceive them is important to them. And much of that stress comes from worrying about their appearance. Sixty-eight percent of girls and 55% of boys say that some aspect of their appearance is a somewhat or very significant source of stress and 30% of girls and 13% of boys say they often feel bad when comparing themselves to others. The pressure to look “Instaworthy” is driving the beauty market with more being spent by teens of both genders on skin, hair, personal care, and cosmetics by this generation than previous generations of teens.
Teens Are Stressed!
The pressure to get into top-tier universities and excel at sports and other activities is taking its toll on teens. Sixty-four percent of teens say they feel stressed at least once a week. Demographically, white teens are among the most stressed out, with 74% indicating they are stressed or upset (60%) weekly. Hispanic and Asian teens are also feeling pressured; 66% of Hispanics and 65% of Asians say they’re stressed out too! African American teens are among the least stressed, still, more than half (55%) report feeling chronic stress.
Although this generation has been educated about the effects of bullying and many schools have strict anti-bullying policies in place, teens say it still regularly happens. Sixty-three percent of teens have been teased about their weight, 44% have been called dumb, and 27% of teens have been teased about their skin color.
Brands that offer uplifting inclusive messages, tips to reduce stress, and authentically acknowledge that sometimes teenage life is less than perfect, may resonate with this demographic. Women’s Marketing offers brands deep insight into how consumers of all ages engage with brands and strategies to reach them. Contact us today to learn how we can help your brand reach your consumer when and where it matters most.
Sources: We Are Gen Z Report We Are Healthy April 2017, Google It’s Lit A Guide to What Teens Think Is Cool April 2017, Fung Global Retail & Technology Deep Dive: GenZ and Beauty The Social Media Symbiosis February 2017