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The Surprising Truth About Baby Boomer Health

The Surprising Truth About Baby Boomer Health

From Woodstock, to women’s rights, Baby boomers have made a name for themselves by being unpredictable, off-beat pioneers; rejecting society’s norms and labels.

But this time, the label they’re rejecting—that of the ‘healthiest generation’—may, in the long run, do them more harm than good.

In spite of having access to groundbreaking medical advancements and record amounts of wealth, the baby boom generation is sicker and more impaired than their parents were at the same age, according to a new article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Baby boomer life expectancy does exceed that of previous generations, but their overall health is not better, study authors noted.

And they know it too.

Only 13 percent of baby boomers feel that their overall wellness is, “excellent,” compared to 32 percent of people in the prior generation who gave their health top marks.

Here are a few specific findings from the report:

The positives: Baby boomers are less likely to smoke or have already had a heart attack than their parents were.

The negatives: Baby boomers are much less likely to exercise on a regular basis—a whopping 52 percent said they get no regular physical activity. Consequently, they are also much more likely to be obese (39 percent of boomers versus 29 percent of the previous generation), have high cholesterol (74 percent versus 34 percent), and suffer from diabetes (16 percent versus 12 percent), than their parents.

When they were their age, about nine percent of baby boomer parents had problems carrying out daily tasks, such as getting around the house and doing chores. Thirteen percent of boomers report currently having similar problems.

Seven percent of boomers have to use a cane (or similar device) to get around, versus three percent of their parents at the same age.

Make an action plan for healthy aging

Aging baby boomers, even those who don’t feel in tip-top shape, shouldn’t view aging as a life-sentence of inevitable decline. There are steps you can take to help yourself age successfully.

“You may not be able to regain the health that you had at age 20 or 30, but you can always improve your physical and mental health,” says Larry Matson, Ed.D., co-author of the book, “Live Young, Think Young, Be Young…at Any Age.”

He suggests taking small, manageable steps to regain control over the common issues of aging that affect your physical and mental health.

Set a goal to go for a 15 minute walk each day. Replace your daily diet soda with a glass of water, or all-natural juice. Eat a piece of fruit in place of dessert. Pay attention to and manage your stress levels by making an action plan to calm yourself down.

“The power of a different mindset about aging is the key,” Matson says. “Raise your expectations and take it day by day. We’re all going to die, eventually, but even small changes can result in positive adaptations—no matter how old you are.”

Discover more tips on how to incorporate better health habits into your daily routine:

Baby Boomers Blaze New Trail as ‘Unhealthiest’ Generation originally appeared on

Read more: Aging, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Fitness, Food, Health, Healthy Aging, , , ,

By Anne-Marie Botek, Editor

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7:42AM PDT on May 11, 2013

Thanks for sharing this information

4:15AM PDT on May 10, 2013

good tips for health.....

5:51AM PST on Mar 8, 2013

Baby boomers are less healthy because our food system has become corrupt and our food is full of poisons. As has the water and the air. Of course our parents were healthier. They had Victory Gardens and grew their own food. Shared with neighbors. Monsanto wasn't in existence. Our parents fought WWII. We had real food then. It's is now a nightmare!

1:30AM PST on Mar 8, 2013

Thanks for this.

7:56AM PST on Mar 3, 2013

I agree with DEVAN! How much crap have they put in our food?

11:54AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

Baby boomer ay?

7:06AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

I think a lot has to do with society. The pollutants and harmful chemicals in our food are higher as every generation passes. All of this has to have a harmful effect on our health. It's not just the baby boomers but will be next generations to come as well.

7:03PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

"the baby boom generation is sicker and more impaired than their parents were at the same age," very true. You don't need a study to confirm this, all you need to do is look around at people you know. I'd hate to see how people my age are in 10 years time. Even now problems are happening which are typically "old people's" issues. And looking at kids health is terrifying. I don't mean that the kids are being diagnosed and are now being cared for, I mean look at the actual issues which used to only happen to adults. And as for the sheer amount of toxins ingested, inhaled and absorbed through skin it's mind-boggling to think how things will be for them. As it is, it used to be that 1 in 3 people knew someone with cancer. Now it's 1 in 3 people get cancer. While many other illnesses are skyrocketing.

4:08PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

A positive attitude towards what ails you is key when aging--- also exercise and/or moving everyday, it's truly the fountain of youth. Thanks for a good article.

1:08PM PST on Feb 28, 2013

Thanks but I believe it's because they're working harder and longer and trying to survive all the crap the parents generations put into the air ---- including the parents drinking, smoking!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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