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People Would Pay More for a Healthy Lifestyle

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With all the hoopla over the Affordable Care Act rollout, other trends coming out of the health care market tend to go under-reported. Case in point: The growing trend of consumers across the globe who want (even demand) to pay for healthier living options.

According to Bain & Co., nine out of 10 global health care consumers say they will pay more for "more nutritious food, health education, exercise and innovative health care technologies."

In a report called Growing Business Opportunities for Healthy Living, Bain sees a huge trend among all demographics away from health care and toward health prevention.

In addition, those consumers say they will pay more -- up to 5% of their total annual income -- for products and services that lead to healthier lifestyles.

Eighty percent of consumers surveyed by Bain (1,200 health care consumers in new York City, New Delhi and Munich) say they seek healthier choices to combat rising stress, a lack of time in their lives, toxic eating and other bad lifestyle habits.

Half of the participants agree they are "not meeting World Health Organization recommended minimum physical activity levels." Another 70% of respondents say health care providers should take the reins in promoting healthier lifestyles and reward consumers who lead healthier lives.

Bain analysts say health care prevention is a real -- and growing -- fact of life for consumers all over the globe.

"A healthy lifestyle is no longer just a story in the style section or something only fitness fanatics value. For a growing number of people around the world, health and well-being are becoming the new status symbol," says Norbert Hultenschmidt, the leader of Bain's "healthy living" global initiative. "Consumers understand what they need to do, but they need a lot more help doing it and enabling them to move from good intentions to healthy behaviors.

The study also shows much higher stress levels among consumers in big, tightly packed cities such as New York and New Delhi, but at least consumers there are "highly aware" of the need for more preventative health care practices.

Consumers don't, however, want more government limits on unhealthy lifestyles. Instead, study respondents said it was up to food and beverage companies, technology firms (who would create apps and tools that promote healthy living), and doctors and hospitals to up the ante on health care prevention.

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