CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you're a Baby Boomer. In 2010, there were 78 million of us and we made up more than a quarter of the U.S. population.
Since 1946, there are some positives to report -- medicine has improved, and because of this our life expectancy has been lengthened. However, according to a recent study, the extra years we've been awarded aren't necessarily going to be good ones.
The study, published in February in the Journal of the American Medical Association journal Internal Medicine, examined the health status of Baby Boomers relative to the previous generation and showed more Baby Boomers had hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol and were more likely to be obese than their parents' generation. Unfortunately, this dispels the rumor that we are the healthiest and most-active generation.
Boomer health bust
West Virginia University School of Medicine conducted the study, and its lead author, Dr. Dana King, chairman of the WVU Department of Family Medicine, was surprised to discover that Boomers weren't as healthy as once believed.
King and his team used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, comparing the results from 1988-94 to the results from 2007-10. They focused on those who ranged in age from 46 to 64 during these periods. When they looked at the two cohorts with regard to overall health, functional limitation, lifestyle habits and prevalence of chronic disease, they found the following distressing statistics:
Prevalence of condition / 46-64 years old in 1988-94 (%) / 46-64 years old in 2007-10 (%)
Hypertension / 36.4 / 43
High cholesterol / 33.8 / 73.5
Diabetes / 12 / 16
Obesity / 29.4 / 38.7
Use cane / 3 / 7
Limitations for daily tasks / 8.8 / 13