We baby boomers take a lot of flack from mass media’s portrayal of us as “invincible.” It’s true that because we’re known for our adoption of “healthy aging” and “vital aging,” that we seem, in some circles anyway, to be conceited. Why not: We’re known as the “healthiest, wealthiest, best-educated generation.”
Not so fast, at least for the first label. Turns out a new study by researchers at the West Virginia School of Medicine found we boomers have higher levels of hypertension or blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and higher rates of disability than our parents.
Additionally, “while life expectancy is higher for boomers than it was for the previous generation, more boomers are unhealthy by their own admission,” the study said. Only one in 10 baby boomers reported being in excellent health compared to one-third of their parents who reported the same.
Not lighting up
The good news? Our rates of heart attack and emphysema are lower than our parents’, and we’re not as likely to light up cigarettes, the authors said.
As expected, increasing rates of obesity are behind many boomer health problems. And because we are chained to our desks, unlike our foremothers and forefathers (and our mothers and fathers), many of us just don’t get moving as much as we should. That’s easily remedied, however.
Fifty percent of our parents got physically active 12 times a month, while just 35 percent of us boomers are following suit. The authors say we’re taking more blood pressure medication than our parents, and in fact, 10 times more meds for high cholesterol—remember, though, that many of our medications didn’t exist until recently.
Not too late
Finally, the American Heart Association says the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:
- Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
- Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Improve blood lipid profile
- Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
- Enhance mental well being
- Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
- Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
- Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes
See you outside! Or at the mall!
(Photo courtesy: @Caraman | Dreamstime.com)