Images of Health Rise in Popularity

Posted on 1/21/2008 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (0)

People don't just want to save the environment, they want to save themselves. Corbis says the skyrocketing global weight-gain is driving more people to leading healthier lives. Surpassed only by environmentalism, "globesity" was at the top of the Corbis list of cultural trends affecting visual communications during 2007.

Though this subject has had ample press, this century marks a change in general consumer attitudes. After years of weight gain, resulting from increased fast-food consumption, longer commutes and hours spent in front of computers, people are recognizing the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition to avoiding life-threatening diseases.

Another contributing factor is the global spread of globesity. Contrary to popular belief, unhealthy weight is not insular to North America. In 2005, the World Health Organization found that more than 75% of men and women were overweight in countries as diverse as Egypt, Barbados, South Africa, Mexico and Argentina.

WHO data says that 1.2 billion people are currently overweight, including the average citizen of the U.S. and U.K. Another 300 million people worldwide are obese.

The European Union recently asked the region's industry to help fight obesity. Over 50% of European adults are overweight or obese, and many officials are advocating the need for healthier foods and stronger ad codes. An upcoming 2010 review will decide whether new laws are needed.

Advertising and publishing media are reflecting these changes in attitudes. According to Corbis, more images feature real people doing their best to stay in shape. This includes images of exercise, sports and low-impact activities, such as walking. The new look of health is intricately tied to happiness; it is less about specific subjects.

Images of people interacting with food are changing, too. Photos of children with candy or ice-cream have been replaced with children eating fruit or other healthier alternatives.

Advertisers, particularly those that market products that have been linked to health problems, are struggling to reposition their brands. PDN Pulse reports on one example: the U.S. ad campaign of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Ads running in Fitness and Cooking Light tout the protein content of lean beef, attempting to shift the focus away from the risk of stroke in case of overindulgence. The ads feature creatively photographed "beefskapes" that mimic natural landscapes.

The fight against globesity is likely to continue to influence stock imagery for some time. There may also be a backlash against certain types of previously popular image categories. For example, the big juicy hamburger that has long been an American staple is now mostly pictured in less-than-flattering contexts. In the long term, the trend may affect demand for images of high-fat, high-calorie foods, as well as technologies and activities linked to unhealthy lifestyles.

Copyright © 2008 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


Be the first to comment below.

Post Comment

Please log in or create an account to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive email notification when new stories are posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Stock Photo Pricing: The Future
In the last two years I have written a lot about stock photo pricing and its downward slide. If you have time over the holidays you may want to review some of these stories as you plan your strategy ...
Read More
Future Of Stock Photography
If you’re a photographer that counts on the licensing of stock images to provide a portion of your annual income the following are a few stories you should read. In the past decade stock photography ...
Read More
Blockchain Stories
The opening session at this year’s CEPIC Congress in Berlin on May 30, 2018 is entitled “Can Blockchain be applied to the Photo Industry?” For those who would like to know more about the existing blo...
Read More
2017 Stories Worth Reviewing
The following are links to some 2017 and early 2018 stories that might be worth reviewing as we move into the new year.
Read More
Stories Related To Stock Photo Pricing
The following are links to stories that deal with stock photo pricing trends. Probably the biggest problem the industry has faced in recent years has been the steady decline in prices for the use of ...
Read More
Stock Photo Prices: The Future
This story is FREE. Feel free to pass it along to anyone interested in licensing their work as stock photography. On October 23rd at the DMLA 2017 Conference in New York there will be a panel discuss...
Read More
Important Stock Photo Industry Issues
Here are links to recent stories that deal with three major issues for the stock photo industry – Revenue Growth Potential, Setting Bottom Line On Pricing and Future Production Sources.
Read More
Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More

More from Free Stuff