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A comprehensive study into the health attitudes and behaviours of Generation Z shows an overwhelming concern by our youngest voting generation that health services won’t meet their needs or expectations in the future.

Generation Z: The Future of Health and Wellbeing is the result of research carried out by health marketing agency Pegasus among Generation Z (aged 16-23) and Baby Boomers (aged 54-72) to learn their views on health-related topics including the NHS, trust in healthcare professionals and mental health.

At the start of a year of expected political and economic uncertainty, Brexit is their biggest worry with two-thirds (59%) believing an exit from Europe will have a negative impact on the NHS, compared to just 28% of Baby Boomers. Regardless of Brexit, both groups seem concerned about the longevity of the NHS with 69% of Generation Z and 72% of Baby Boomers saying they are worried about its future.

When it comes to UK healthcare professionals, 72% of Generation Zs say they have a lot of respect for doctors and specialists, and more than a third (38%) would visit a GP when feeling ill. But their experience in the consulting room isn’t always positive. 41% say they feel a doctor dismisses them during a consultation, as if they are imagining or exaggerating their symptoms. In fact 60% of Generation Z admit to consulting Google to check symptoms before making an appointment with a GP. That’s compared to 31% of Baby Boomers.

Generation Z also say they experience barriers when discussing mental health. 46% indicate they would struggle to tell their doctor if they were experiencing mental health problems. As a generation, they appear to take a more holistic approach to mental health with 20% practicing mindfulness and meditation in an attempt to stay healthy, compared to 10% of Baby Boomers.

Dr Anna Baker, a health psychologist who helped author the report, says: “Generation Z sees the importance of caring for their health and engaging with HCPs, but appear to have more negative experiences. This could be influenced by direct experience but also potentially by a heavy reliance on using online resources to access information.”

She continues, “The impact here is that satisfaction is lowered by higher levels of knowledge and expectation, regardless of accuracy. It’s important for health services provides to acknowledge this when reaching out to this well-informed group, and to also address a need to provide more personalised services and ensure they feel supported.”

The report also asked the two generations about the impact of social media in the desire to stay healthy, how they try to achieve work-life balance, and views on the pharmaceutical industry, all uncovering some notable differences.

Collectively, 88% of Generation Z are exposed to fitness or beauty models and influencers on social media. And this younger generation seems to be much more negatively impacted by this content than older Baby Boomers. From our research,

  • 40% of Generation Z feel jealous when looking at these images (compared to only 9% of Baby Boomers
  • 48% of Gen Z feel sad that they don’t look like the images on social media (compared to only 15% of Baby Boomers)
  • 47% of Generation Z feel pressure to lose weight or tone up (compared to just 12% of Baby Boomers)

Dr Anna Baker comments that, “These unrealistic images lead to unnecessary negative feelings about themselves, which may have unhelpful effects on their motivation to stay healthy.”

Half the Gen Zs interviewed (51%) say they feel pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to promote healthy living, yet 46% believe these companies put profit ahead of the wellbeing of their customers. Interestingly, Generation Z were significantly less likely to complete a course of prescribed medicine than the Baby Boomer generation.

And when it came to work-life balance, more than half (56%) of Generation Z say they are currently happy with their work/education life balance. However, 55% also admit to having had to take time out due to feeling stressed or overwhelmed with their workload (compared to only 17% of Baby Boomers).

Corrina Safeio, Director of Strategy & Insights at Pegasus who carried out the research, says these findings are key for anyone working in health. “Anyone who wants to inspire others to make healthier decisions needs to first have a deep understanding of the people they are trying to reach. Generation Z is one audience raising a lot of questions for health organisations. Which is why understanding them and their health behaviours better is incredibly important right now.”

She continues, “These young people have never known a time before mobile phones and the internet. They live in politically polarised times, full of uncertainty and ‘fake news’. And as the country’s most tech-literate adults, they access their information through diverse, immediate channels and platforms. This report goes some way into unlocking important insights into how we can help Gen Z access health services – and live more healthily – in a way that best suits them.”

For more information and to download the full report visit Pegasus is an Ashfield company, part of UDG Healthcare plc.


For more information, images or interviews,

please email or call 01273 712000.

Notes to editors


Online quantitative survey of 1,000 respondents (split 500 Generation Z and 500 Baby Boomers) conducted by 3GEM Research and Insights in October 2018 on behalf of Pegasus. All group differences reported are statistically significant (P<0.005). In May 2018, Pegasus also conducted two in-person focus groups with Generation Z.

About Pegasus

Pegasus inspires healthy decisions through creative, inspirational and integrated communications. Working with ambitious clients, we deliver big ideas and far-reaching campaigns across industries and channels in a health first, sector second approach. Our 140 specialists span earned and owned channels, technologies, and audiences ranging from consumers to healthcare professionals. And, as part of Ashfield Healthcare Communications, we have a global footprint across 24 countries and every conceivable therapy and service area. Being plugged in to this wider network means we’re able to provide end-to-end solutions to healthcare organisations across the world.  Since 2016, we have been proud to receive seven ‘Consultancy of the Year’ awards and in 2018 our public safety film ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ for Samaritans and Network Rail won Campaign of the Year in the Campaigns For Good awards. For more information, go to

21st January 2019


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Evoke Mind+Matter

+44 (0)1273 712000

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Church Street
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