A new study has some scary news for baby boomers: the generation is in worse health than their parents at the same stage of life. The number one reason? Obesity and lack of exercise.
American researchers released their findings in JAMA Internal Medicine.
According to the study, 13 percent of baby boomers reported being in “excellent” health in middle age. That’s compared to 32 percent of the previous generation who said the same thing at the same stage of life.
Researchers use data from an ongoing national health and nutrition survey to compare the answers of people who were 46 to 64 years old between 1988 and 1994 and baby boomers of the same age range between 2007 and 2010.
A staggering 39 percent of boomers were obese and 16 percent had diabetes. The boomers were also more likely to have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The previous generation was 29 percent obese and had better health scores for blood pressure and cholesterol. Interestingly, more boomers than their parents use walking aides such as canes.
There was some upside for boomers in the study. Researchers note that boomers smoke less than their parents’ generation. They are also less likely to have emphysema. Boomers are also living longer than their parents… but this can actually be bad news if a boomer is in poor health. Doctors advocate positive health changes such as cleaning up diet and getting regular exercise. Eating closer to nature (consuming fruits, nuts and salads) and taking a daily stroll can go a long way to preserving – or improving – health.