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Written by: Vester Gravley on Thursday, August 20, 2015 Posted in:

Blog series: Reflections on Individualism and Health 
“”Pop” is an abbreviation derived from the Latin “populi” meaning “people”. It is often rendered “popular” in the current America vernacular giving us such expressions as “pop-music”, “pop-fashion”, “pop-art”, “pop-culture” etc., reflecting the most widely accepted social thoughts and mores among the larger segments’ society. The latest phenom on the popular scene is pop-wellness. Today pop-wellness can be seen in societal attitudes, thoughts and behaviors such as:

  • Buying organic or gluten free foods
  • Going vegetarian or vegan
  • Attitudes toward smoking, especially among young people
  • The roiling debate about sugar and sugar substitutes
  • The slow demise of the McDonalds burger empire
  • Various city and state regulations banning or taxing the sale of soft drinks in certain quantities or altogether

Not all of these are necessarily bad. But popular is not always progress. Accompanying pop-wellness, there is a certain level of pseudo-scientific, self-aggrandizing, groupthink that has more to do with fitness fashion than actual health. More of a “keeping-up-with-the-joneses” approach that proves to be sometimes useful, but most times is simply the latest craze. It gets in the way of the commitment, hard work, personal knowledge and self-discipline that produce the lasting effects of good health.

To editorialize a quote from John Podhoretz, “Pop-wellness is a reflection of social change, not a cause of social change.”