You’d think that millennials would be having optimal health compared to the previous generation but that’s not the case. Despite so many wellness trends and increased awareness, it seems like millennials are even less healthy than generation Xers. And boy, their health starts declining fast.
Researchers from the Blue Cross Shield Association looked at the data from health insurance claims of about 55 million millennials. These individuals were in the age group of 21 to 36 when the study was conducted 2 years back in 2017.
The optimal health index of insurers was set to 100 and it was found that on this scale the average score was 95 which isn’t too bad. But the research also found that millennials who were aged 34 to 36 had more of the top 10 illnesses that generation Xers had at the same age.
These health conditions include depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, and substance use. Other results that were concluded:
- Millennial women are less healthy than male millennials by 20%
- Overall health of millennials starts to decline at the age of 27 which is pretty early
- Millennials are more impacted by behavioral health concerns than physical
- Millennials who live in southern states are the least healthy
- Millennials of western states are the healthiest
VP of medical affairs at the association, Dr. Vincent Nelson, told Healthline, “While it’s well-known in the health community that we’re seeing higher rates of depression in this generation, I found it surprising to see an increase in physical conditions, such as hypertension, especially since you don’t expect to see those kind of heart conditions in this age group.”
If you are wondering why this is happening then know that some experts think obesity is to blame here. The rates of obesity are only rising, our lifestyles are becoming more sedentary and diets are getting worse. It’s known to everyone that excess weight puts a person on the risk for several health conditions including depression, hypertension, and diabetes.
Moreover, another factor to blame here is that less people take preventative care. Only 68% of the people who were involved in this research had a primary care practitioner. Most people don’t even consider getting their blood pressure levels checked. They don’t get their cholesterol levels checked either. People also need to lower tobacco use and get therapy for depression.
Unfortunately, not everyone can afford health checkups on a regular basis. While several are doing well, many are also living from paycheck to paycheck. Lack of monetary resources keeps them from seeing a doctor. In this regard, health can be better managed by exercising, maintaining an ideal body weight, and talking to someone in one’s friends’ or family circles for coping with depression.
The worst part is that this study shows that with time, the next generations will have worse health and shorter life spans. But, there are also limitations to this study. The study has analyzed the data of only the insured population not the entire millennial population.