No exercise / 17.4 / 52
Report health as excellent / 32 / 13
The statistics are alarming, and it seems as if we should know better. Here we are getting sicker during a time when millions of dollars are being spent educating us on how to be healthier. There are countless federal, state and even community-based efforts facilitating physical activity and nutrition programs as well as policy change on many levels that support health. Public health campaigns along with improvements in health screenings would make us think our quality of life should be moving in a positive direction.
"Medication use has definitely increased," King explained, "so we are propping ourselves up on our canes and our medicines. We are becoming over dependent on medications and surgical solutions rather than creating our own good health."
Control your destiny
The rising obesity rate and the chronic disease that accompanies it will continue to outweigh even our best health campaigns and medical therapies. As Baby Boomers inch closer to 70, there will be longer waits at doctor offices, and we will need more and more health-care professionals because of the sheer numbers of people with declining health.
More than half of Baby Boomers get no physical activity! We must take control of our weight and lifestyle habits as these choices determine our destiny. Exercising and accepting responsibility for the food and beverages we consume must be on top of the to-do list.
Misconception of longer life
Sedentary lifestyles and poor diets carry serious implications with regard to the need for more medical care. King said, "Baby Boomers are living longer, so I think there may be presumptions from that that they are the healthiest generation. But they are not in excellent health while they are waiting around to live two to three years longer. Unfortunately, they may be living longer with a greater burden of chronic disease and more disability. It's not exactly a good public health outcome."
Be inspired, start small
Despite the gloomy results of this study, it points out that it's never too late to improve the quality of your life by eating better and moving more. Small changes translate into big rewards. Start with small increments of activity and add time and intensity gradually. Incorporate leisure activities such as gardening; dog walking; or swimming or water exercise, which is easy on joints. Any "go-at-your-own-pace" activity is beneficial to your health and will gradually improve the way you look and feel.
Cindy Boggs, wellness presenter and author, is an ACE-certified instructor/trainer. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to cindys...@aol.com. Look for her award-winning fitness advice book, "CindySays ... You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World" on her website, www.cindysays.com.