Overall Health Status of Baby Boomers Appears Lower Than Previous Generations

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February 5, 2013 - Dana E. King, M.D., M.S., of the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, and colleagues studied the overall reported health status of aging baby boomers compared with the previous generation by analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

According to findings reported in a research letter, the overall health status was lower among baby boomers with 13.2 percent reporting “excellent” health compared with 32 percent of individuals in the previous generation. Obesity was more common among baby boomers (38.7 percent obese vs. 29.4 percent) and more than half of the baby boomers reported no regular physical activity (52.2 percent vs. 17.4 percent). The average age of the participants in groups studied was about 54 years, according to the study results.

“Despite their longer life expectancy over previous generations, U.S. baby boomers have higher rates of chronic disease, more disability and lower self-rated health than members of the previous generation at the same age. On a positive note, baby boomers are less likely to smoke cigarettes and experience lower rates of emphysema and myocardial infarction than the previous generation,” according to the study.

Source: JAMA Internal Medicine.