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Baby boomers less healthy than their parents

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The overall health of baby boomers appears lower than that of the previous generation, according to a study.

Researchers with the West Virginia University School of Medicine 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. The average age of participants in the groups studied was about 54.

According to findings reported in a research letter, scheduled for publication in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 13.2% of baby boomers reported “excellent” health, compared with 32% of individuals in the previous generation.

Obesity was more common among baby boomers (38.7% vs. 29.4%), and a wide gap was found in the proportion of respondents who reported no physical activity (52.2% of baby boomers vs. 17.4% of the previous generation).

“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,” reported Dana E. King, MD, MS, and colleagues. “On a positive note, baby boomers are less likely to smoke cigarettes and experience lower rates of emphysema and myocardial infraction than the previous generation.”

The study is available via subscription or purchase at http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1568518.

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