Baby boomers are Americans born between 1946 and 1964. The last of the boomers turns 50 in 2014. This means the generation that never grew up will officially be considered senior citizens. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that although boomers are living longer, we are not living healthier.
A study published in February 2013, in JAMA Internal Medicine, was conducted by researchers from the West Virginia University School of Medicine. it revealed that 78 million baby boomers were less healthy than their parents.
In 2010, baby boomers made up 26.1 percent of the American population, and they were deemed the “healthiest generation,” because of their long life expectancy and ability to take advantage of the most recent health campaigns and the newest medical care.
Recent studies, however, indicate this may no longer be true. Updated research shows baby boomers have more elevated levels of specific conditions than the previous generation. These include obesity, cholesterol, diabetes and hypertension.
Dr. Dana King is a professor in family medicine at West Virginia University School of Medicine. King examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. NHANES is a picture of health behaviors, and measures which are administered by the United States Government.
Baby boomers aged 46 to 64 years between 2007 and 2010, as well as Americans with similar ages in 1988 to 1994, were analyzed. Only 13 percent of baby boomers considered their health to be excellent, in comparison to 32 percent of individuals in the preceding generation.
Thirteen percent of boomers showed a limitation in daily tasks such as mowing the lawn or walking up stairs. Only 8.8 percent of the previous generation had the same issues. 7 percent of baby boomers used canes or other deices designed to help them walk, compared to only 3 percent of the preceding generation.
In spite of longer life expectancy, in comparison with previous generations, baby boomers experience more disability, higher rates of chronic disease, and lower opinions of their personal health, than those of preceding generations. On the plus side, baby boomers are less likely to smoke cigarettes, and therefore experience lower rates of mocardial infarction, (heart attack), and emphysema than those who preceded them.
My husband and I are taking this information to heart, and paying more attention to what we eat, as well as walking 40 minutes (about 2 miles) together most days of the week. We are troubled by an increasing number of fellow baby boomers, on walkers, oxygen, using canes and wheelchairs. We desire to add years to our lives and a healthier life to our years. You should as well.