Today’s baby boomers are generally healthier than their parents, right? After all, this generation has been dubbed the “Healthiest Generation” because of having the longest life expectancy of any of the previous generations – and has also had many health advantages their parents did not have. But, surprisingly, research shows that many in the aging baby boom generation are actually LESS healthy than their parents.
Researchers have discovered that the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 (baby boomers) have more diabetes, obesity, hypertension and high cholesterol than their parents’ generation. This is despite having a longer health expectancy and other advantages, like advances in medical care and public health campaigns promoting healthier lifestyles.
Americans have long thought of the current generation as being healthier than previous ones, but baby boomers seem to be ending that trend. In fact, only 13% of baby boomers rate their overall health as ‘excellent’, compared to 32% of the previous generation at the same age.
According to Dr. Dana King:
“Baby boomers are living longer, so I think there may be presumptions … that they are the healthiest generation. But they are not in excellent health while they are waiting around to live two to three years longer. Unfortunately they may be living longer with a greater burden of chronic disease, and more disability. It’s not exactly a good public health outcome.”
So, why, despite all the advantages, aren’t baby boomers enjoying better health than their parents? Experts suspect the biggest culprit is obesity. More Americans are overweight or obese than ever before, triggering a host of chronic medical conditions. And, advances in medical care may only be treating the symptoms (for example, blood pressure medication) rather than the root causes of obesity, thus perpetuating the problem.
Consequently, many baby boomers are becoming sicker sooner and experiencing a lower quality of life than their parents did at the same age – while living a few years longer.
The good news is that this trend doesn’t necessarily have to be your reality (or that of a boomer you care about):
– YOU have the power to lose weight, exercise more, eat better and otherwise shift into a health-promoting lifestyle.
– YOU have more control of your quality of life now, and in the future, than you may realize.
– It’s YOUR choice.
What are you going to do about it?
Leave a comment below and tell Fit After Fifty what steps you (or a boomer loved one) are taking to buck the trend.