As a wellness professional, you may influence the health not only of your clients but also of their family members and friends. Social contacts are a primary influence on people’s health, says a recent survey.

The Edelman Health Barometer 2011, a global survey presented at the 14th European Health Forum held in Bad Hofgastein, Austria, in October 2011, looked at how social interaction and technology could spread good health and how the definition of health was evolving. In other findings, 80% of those interviewed embraced a wellness perspective and thought that health meant more than being disease-free. This is an important distinction, since prior conceptions of health have considered only the absence of disease.

Over 70% of survey respondents from every country believed that business should do more to improve or maintain public health. Young adults aged 18–30 were the most likely group to have successfully used technologies to improve their health.

Surveyors conducted either in-person or online interviews of more than 15,000 adults in 12 countries across North America, South America, Europe and Asia. These trends signal important future developments for wellness, technology and social media.

To read the study, go to http://healthbarometer.edelman.com/2011/10/health-barometer-2011-global-findings/.