Health-wise, parents of baby boomers were better off

When their parents were the same age as baby boomers are now, one-third of them considered themselves healthy – and apparently were healthier – than the 78 million-strong boom generation has turned out.

Those born between 1946 and 1964 who are in middle-age or entering seniorhood are experiencing more health problems than nearly one-third of their parents reported when they were the same age, a study at West Virginia University School of Medicine found.

In spite of healthcare innovations and the active lifestyles that have characterized their generation, baby boomers are suffering from more cases of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and disabilities than their parents did.

“There seems to be somewhat of a disconnect between the reputation of baby boomers for being healthy and what we see in increasing rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity,” said study author Dana King, M.D., a professor of family medicine at the university. “It’s really discouraging that they’re not the healthiest generation.”

Health comparisons
Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s publication Internal Medicine, the study compared groups of people aged 46 to 64 during two timeframes. The first period, from 1988 to 1994, was when the baby boomers’ parents were becoming seniors, and the more recent period, from 2007 to 2010, reflects their children’s later years.

Within the older group, 32 percent said they were in excellent health, but only 13 percent of their children characterized their health that way. A good deal of the medical problems experienced by the baby boomers seem to relate to obesity and inactivity, compared to an earlier generation that reported that they were more active and not as likely to be overweight.

For those who are experiencing the bad health effects of being overweight, maintaining a balanced diet has never been more important. Dietary aids such as Skinny D from Dr. Newton’s Naturals allow individuals to replace one meal a day with a nutrient-filled concentrate. Clinically tested to reduce pounds, it adds a mere 10 calories per serving to the daily calorie count.

One bright spot in the research was the reduced smoking and related lung diseases such as emphysema among baby boomers who grew up as evidence emerged that smoking endangered their health. In addition, they also have had fewer heart attacks, which may reflect better rates of recovery in spite of a high incidence of heart disease.

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