NIH Medline Plus reports that Go4Life is a new national exercise campaign which is aimed at people over 50. Included in this group is baby boomers and their parents. U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., has said in regard to this program, "If we want to become a healthy, fit nation, we need to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life." This becomes particularly important when considering an article by Crystal Phend for MedPage Today on Feb, 4, 2013, Baby Boomers Not as Healthy as Their Parents.
A national study has found baby boomers face more health problems in middle age than their parents' generation did. Dana King, MD, of West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues have reported, "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."
People who were born during the post-war boom from 1946 through 1964 were found to have 46% more diabetes, 38% more hypertension, and there was 5.9-fold more hypercholesterolemia. The group noted that these findings add to the evidence that healthcare costs can be anticipated to continue to rise along with the need for more healthcare professionals as this tide of individuals enters older age. It was found that half as many boomers reported "excellent" health in comparison to those in the prior generation, at 13% versus 32%.
There was no significant difference in cancer, and the baby boom generation had slightly less emphysema and slightly fewer heart attacks (4% versus 5%). The previous generation got more regular exercise, with 50% versus 35% of the baby boomers getting exercise more than 12 times a month and only 17% versus 52% getting no regular physical activity at all. Clearly, there is a need for policies which expand efforts at prevention and healthy lifestyle promotion in the baby boomer generation.