At midlife, many of us are preoccupied by caring for our aging and often frail parents. But a new report suggests that our generation may be the one that needs help. According to a study released by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, Baby Boomers have more chronic illness and disability than their parents.
That's because we are less likely to be physically active, are more likely to be overweight or obese and have higher rates of hypertension and high cholesterol. That means that we are more likely to become sicker earlier in life even though we may actually live longer. Translation: those extra years may not be good ones.
The researchers looked at data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 2007 to 2010, which provides a kind of national snapshot of the nation's health. Baby Boomers are defined as the 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964.
In the survey, only 13 percent of Boomers said they were in excellent health while 32 percent of their previous generation said their health was excellent.
The researchers found that about 40 percent of Boomers are obese, compared to 29 percent in their parents' generation. More than half got no regular physical activity while only 17 percent of their parents' generation reporting no regular physical activity.
This is a challenge for public health officials but also for us. What steps should you be taking to make your extra years of life healthier and happier?