I always thought that boomers were busy running triathlons and skiing down the slopes these days. They are reported to have the longest life expectancy of any previous generation and exploit the latest medical technology, so why wouldn’t they be? I am talking about that 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964.
JAMA researchers found otherwise.
Alice Park writing in Time.com reports that boomers have “higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol than members of the previous generation.
“The revelation comes from data in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a national snapshot of health measures and behaviors conducted by the U.S. government. Dr. Dana King, a professor in family medicine at West Virginia University School of Medicine and his colleagues compared baby boomers aged 46 years to 64 years between 2007 and 2010 to similar aged Americans in 1988 to 1994. Overall, only 13% of baby boomers rated their health as ‘excellent’ while nearly three times as many, 32%, of those in the previous generation considered themselves in excellent health.”
Some of the examples Dr. King offered were that seven percent of boomers already use a cane or other device to help them walk vs. only three percent in the previous generation. Some 13 percent of boomers have limitations in performing everyday tasks like stairs or lawn mowing compared with 8.8 percent in the previous generation.
Despite dramatic medical advances in the past 20 years, not to mention public health campaigns and improved therapies, disease seems to be winning. Why is that? Poor eating habits spawn a multitude of sins. We have 60 percent of us overweight and 30 percent obese. You can read about the plethora of maladies that flow from obesity in How Does Obesity Affect You?
Park makes the point that the advances in medical care only mask or perpetuate the problem.
Dr. King says, “Medication use has definitely increased, so we are propping ourselves up on our canes and our medicines. We are becoming over-dependent on medications and surgical solutions rather than creating our own good health.”
A mantra of this blog is Eat less; move more. That is in direct opposition to the advertising dollars pumping up unhealthy foods high in salt, fat and sugar. Check out my Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s – NOT.
I find it fascinating that despite technological and all the other medical advances, good health results from basic simple, intelligent living practices. An ounce of prevention …