AirTalk for February 5, 2013

Baby Boomers less healthy than their parents

Ashley Myers-Turner/KPCC

Las Abuelas del Parque is an exercise group for senior citizens. The class meets in Cypress Park. Baby boomers aren't babies any more, not by a long shot, but the first of them are entering the stage of life where they may need more intensive and even more expensive care than children.

With all their obsession over yoga, exercise, attention to alcohol consumption and the evils of smoking, you’d think baby boomers would be the healthiest generation ever. Not true, says a new study just published in JAMA Internal Medicine.  

Researchers surveyed a sample of the nearly 80 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 and compared their overall health to that of their parents at the same age.  Surprisingly, the survey showed higher rates of hypertension, diabetese, obesity and high cholesterol than that of the previous generation. Similarly aged Americans in 1988 to 1994 - from 46 to 64 years old - were actually in better overall health.

Currently, only 13 percent of boomers rate themselves in ‘excellent’ health; 32 percent of their parents in the same age bracket gave themselves that rating. There have been major advances in medical care, awareness campaigns and public health policy since then - so what accounts for the difference?  

Guest:

Linda Martin, senior fellow at the RAND Corporation who has conducted research on population aging in the United States for 30 years 


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