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For Your Well Being: Get Young Families in the Door

July 11, 2013, Vol. 11, Issue 14

Dear Friends,

Are you marketing and attracting women in various younger generations to your special events? What’s important to the Generation X’ers? When it comes to health and wellness, what are their motivations and expectations? How do you reach out to them with programs and messages that appeal to their concerns?

Here are some insights you can use in your marketing messages and programs to bring young women and their families through your doors.

I’ve been discussing the three generational groups — Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. I learned about the characteristics of these groups from Kathy Oneto, Vice President, Brand Strategy at Anthem Worldwide, when I heard her speak at the Marketing to Women in Health and Wellness conference in Chicago. Two issues ago, I described her insights into the youngest of the three, the Millennials. If you missed that earlier discussion, click here.

And if you’d like to have the full report, just email me and ask for the Anthem Report and I will email you the PDF.



Strong Women Keeping Many Balls in the Air

Generation X women, born from 1965-1980, are now in the 33 – 48 age group, so their average age is around 40. Within that range they are in different stages and situations; some are single (with or without children) and some married (with or without kids). They grew up expecting to have an education, a career, a relationship, the house and kids — having it all.  And now if they do, they’re very busy juggling all of those balls.

When Oneto’s team at Anthem surveyed these women, they uncovered some vital information. For example, their primary motivation for health and wellness, as summarized in Anthem’s report on the generations, is to “establish” — and that means both gaining self-acceptance and inhabiting a body that works. It’s about strength and productivity. Their health and wellness goals, like Millennials, were aspirational and holistic, speaking to the idea of living one’s “best life,” wanting peace, and being happy and content with themselves and their bodies.

As would be expected, Generation X’ers came across as more settled and focused than Millennials but that doesn’t mean life is a breeze for them. They didn’t report having the optimism of the younger generation; skepticism had crept into their lives with the upheavals in political, social and business institutions that they experienced while they were growing up. Many of them have education debts, and economic and career worries are pervasive.

A big difference between Millennials and Generation X, is that Gen Xer’s by now tend to have established long-term relationships so that they have other people to consider as they choose goals and make decisions. This, of course, is amplified when they have children. So then in regard to health, their views on health extend to a partner and their own families. The women acknowledged that they were not only caring for their own health but also serving as role models for their children as, for example, in healthy eating choices. If Mom’s not eating her veggies (or serving them!) how can she expect her kids to?

But they also reported caring for themselves for the long term. They talked about their motivations to be healthy for their own good, the desire to have the energy to care for their families today, and then to live long lives to be around for their children long term.

Generation X women also brought the need for compromise and balance into the picture. They acknowledged that choosing to go to the gym or to run or walk with girlfriends takes away from family time, and that sometimes when they choose to eat a rich dessert, they’re making a compromise between enjoyment and health.

However, these women were pretty adamant about taking responsibility for the choices they make in regard to their health. They didn’t have much patience for lack of accountability when it comes to making poor health and wellness decisions. Surprisingly, they tended toward a tougher line – i.e., “live with the consequences and don’t complain about it.”

Photo from Anthem Report, pg 2

When it came to physical health and wellness, Generation X women were far more interested in function (particularly strength) than in how health manifests in their appearance. The researchers felt this preference for muscle over looks was strongly related to Generation X’ers desire to do it all and to be productive. They have drive — to achieve, to reach their goals, and to be accomplished — and they see physical health and wellness as a means to those ends.

Emotional health was also important to these women, and this manifested in the importance of friendships. They felt that social interactions were important to staying sane in their overly-busy lives, and they can do that by getting together with friends to talk, listen and laugh together.

The study concluded that while Gen X’ers expected to be healthy and well in general (after all, they are the “do it all” generation), they were not interested in restrictions or in expectations that they felt were unrealistic and challenging. That means that topics like restrictive diets, BMI and cholesterol measures may not interest them. Some believe that health and wellness is “just not an exact science.”

They also commented about the constant banter of should’s and should not’s that goes on in their heads. It’s that angel and devil scenario with one voice saying yes, to a food, and the other saying, no, you shouldn’t have that. The data supported this: 72% of Gen X women compared to 64% of Millennials felt that they were expected to eat for health rather than enjoyment.

So, if you’re looking to attract Gen X’ers to your events, think about the things you’ve just read. These women are not homogenous, but the data suggest some general themes:

  •  Getting together with girlfriends — to talk, listen, share and laugh together.  Use that as an appeal to get women come to your event. This is the attraction of a Girl’s Night Out.
  • Appeal to their desires to be strong and have it all, (but not to get their BMI measured).
  • Entice them with topics that appeal to their desire to live their “best life” with both peace of mind and a healthy body image.
  • Especially for the young woman with kids, tap into her interest in setting the tone for her family and being a good example of healthy habits.
  • Respect the restraints on her time — perhaps think about offering a quick in and out evening, noon hour or morning time frame, rather than an all-day commitment.

In a future issue, I’ll look at Baby Boomers, and the commonalities for marketing to all of the generations, bringing this discussion full circle.  Stay tuned…



For the WHOLE Family

Do you feel like you’ve done it all with women’s heart health programs — the reasons it’s important (the threat!), the means of prevention, the ways men and women’s heart attack symptoms are different, the importance of heart healthy eating and heart healthy exercise — ?

Here’s a different approach — and a way to reach into the hearts and minds of those Gen X’ers who realize the importance of the example they set within their family unit. We’re talking about a theme that speaks to heart health for the whole family and that can be led by Mom. And some of these X’ers may well bring their Baby Boomer Moms along. After all, Grandma can set a good example, too.

I was recently working with a client on this family-style approach to heart health and took the issue to Zonya Foco, whom I’ve worked with for over 15 years on healthy lifestyle programs for our clients. 

“Do you,” I asked, “have a talk on how Moms can guide their families toward health for the family?”

“Oh, absolutely,” she said, without missing a beat, “that’s a very realistic and workable approach. Not only that,” she said, “I have lots of stories and hands-on material.”



Ladies Choice: Heart Health for the Whole Family

As the Mom of a 13-year old boy (and provider to all of his friends who congregate at their house), Zonya has experience in spades in this department.speaker on family heart health, women's heart health speaker, nutrition health speaker   Avid nutrition evangelist that she is, she walks her talk, and that includes shopping with her son, Ridge. Since he was old enough to walk the grocery aisles with her (and read), she would quiz him about package ingredients. “Is this a grow food (answer “farm”) or not (answer “laboratory”)?  And if you’d like to hear her tell that story, click here for the short (2 minute) video, (it’s very entertaining).

She’s also aware of every Mom’s desire to be the cool “Kool-Aid Mom” — the one whom all the neighbor kids love (because she always has goodies on hand for them — read: sweet stuff and junk food).

“Kids (and adults included of course),” Zonya says, “are bombarded by the media and by the packaging and displays at the grocery store, with overly processed, chemically enhanced “frankenfoods,” marketed to the hilt, and aimed at our sweet and salty tastebuds, let alone our emotional centers – i.e. Spiderman or whatever the latest marketing to kids craze is.”

On the other hand, the media is also good at sharing the statistics about climbing obesity and type 2 diabetes rates, raging cholesterol levels, and high blood pressure — all health issues that lead to heart disease and all issues that can usually be corrected by healthy lifestyle choices. So that’s what we’re promoting here — an ounce of prevention.

“Women are the gatekeepers to healthy food in the home,” Zonya says, “and there has to be a way to create balance between all three — the media messages, our tastebuds, and our health. There is not one easy answer but I think that we can make a big contribution, in how we, as the Mom gatekeepers foster an innate desire for healthy food. Then what we do at home matters, and in a way that when our kids aren’t home, they don’t pendulum swing off the deep end because they actually gravitate to the good stuff on their own.”

In answer to my question on this topic, she’s developed a powerful 4-step plan for making healthy eating (and activity) the desired norm for your family. And if you’ve heard her speak, you know she will (a) have your audience rolling in the aisles and (b) leave them with unforgettable phrases. My husband still reminds me of things she said the one time heard her speak, and that was 8 years ago. And every once in a while he brings up the 30-foot nylon intestinal tract that she uses to demonstrate the importance of fiber in the diet — for him still a vivid visual metaphor.

Zonya Foco, RD, CSP, is a master of inspiration, motivation and visual humor. She is the only Registered Dietitian (RD) and Certified Health and Fitness Instructor (CHFI) in the country to have earned the prestigious Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation. She combines a rigorous adherence to the facts with organized strings of zingers to help people remember her points and a zany knack for outrageous stage props that get her audiences up and engaged.

If you’d like to know more, give me a call at 503-699-5031 or email me at


Crazy for Kale

Living in the wonderful big fir trees of Lake Grove is lovely — for cool shade. For gardening, well, that’s another issue. We finally found something we can grow in the small semi-sunny spot in the front yard — kale!

I’m loving it, and now that asparagus season is past, it’s my new favorite green veggie. I realize I’m not alone in this; kale is being heralded as a superfood by columnists across the country – and for good reason. It’s loaded with powerful anti-oxidants and nutrition, and choosing kale on a regular basis may provide significant health benefits, including cancer protection and lowered cholesterol. And harvesting it on a regular basis, cutting a few leaves and any blossoms off each plant, gives us a steady supply from a surprisingly small plot.

We’ve also found it super simple to prepare. After washing, we cut off the stems, and tear the leaves into chunks. We sauté them slightly in olive oil, then add a little liquid — white wine, water, or chicken stock — and steam them for 5 – 10 minutes. My husband likes to add chopped garlic at the end. I like to slightly brown the garlic at the beginning. Cook’s choice! Now we’re experimenting with adding mushrooms, red peppers, etc. and a little soy sauce and sesame oil.

In my stack of newspaper recipe clippings, I also found a great Kale and Sausage Stew recipe that has already become a favorite.

I’d love to have a great Kale Salad recipe — something cold, crisp and un-cooked.  Anybody have one they’d like to share? I’ll trade you for the stew recipe.

As you enjoy your summer bounty — whether it’s homegrown or from the farmer’s market — take care of yourself for your well being and those your love.

Yours truly,


For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!

The Speak Well Being Group is a specialized speakers bureau, focusing on speakers for hospital-sponsored community events, healthcare organizations, conferences and women’s groups. Our speakers are hand-selected. They are not only experts in their fields, they know how to connect with women and give them life-changing information served on a silver platter of joy, camaraderie, with a side of sauce (spicy, of course).

Finding the perfect keynote speaker for your special event or conference is my personal passion, not just once, but year after year. It brings me endless joy to know that your audience was delighted and moved by the speaker we selected together. I’m committed to making the process easy, pleasant and fun.

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