Wellness Promotion in the Health and Fitness Industry: A Qualitative Inquiry of Subject Matter Experts

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Wellness as a multidimensional construct has led to a paradigm shift between the traditional medical model and a more holistic approach to health promotion. In the following study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty-six subject matter experts (SMEs) within the exercise and fitness industry. Qualitative data were collected about roles, perspectives, industry strengths and needs, and holistic wellness promotion, and an Applied Thematic Analysis (ATA) revealed seven primary themes. These included: (1) wellness as a multidimensional construct, (2) a need for integration of stress management, (3) importance of physical health as a component of wellness, (4) a need for partnership between the fitness industry and medical community, (5) refocusing marketing efforts, (6) establishing industry standards, and (7) emphasis on behavior change and establishing healthy lifestyle trends. This study provides insight into the importance of wellness-promotion efforts to combat obesity, heightened stress, and unhealthy lifestyle trends, and the critical role that exercise and fitness industry professionals have in this change. It highlights specific areas of needed industry change that could facilitate a multidimensional understanding of wellness and result in more holistic approaches to the promotion of health and wellness.