Every year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Center for Health Statistics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention work together to create the “Health United States” report. And it just so happens that the “Health United States 2014” report focused on Americans aged 55-64 with surprising, and not entirely positive, results.
The New Paradox
After analyzing public health data, statistics and other indicators including birth rates, behavioral risk factors and life expectancy, this is the new paradox that seems to be affecting those between the ages of 55 and 64: baby boomers are living longer with a lower quality of life. So what are the exact numbers coming from some of the nation’s most reputable sources that support this surprising conclusion?
The Good: Living Longer
The good news first: for every 100,000 people in this age range, the amount of deaths have decreased by 8 percent, which equals 77 fewer deaths than 10 years ago. What may be even more surprising is that involuntary injuries were the only cause of death to increase over this time.
Some things have not changed, however: cancer and cardiovascular diseases are still the top causes of death in this age group.
The Bad: Lower Quality of Life
Now it’s time for the not-so-good news. Even though baby boomers are living longer, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are living healthier lives. Below are the exact numbers taken from the “Health United States 2014” report:
- One in five baby boomers has diabetes.
- The number of anti-diabetic drugs prescribed to baby boomers has increased by 29 percent.
- More and more baby boomers are experiencing moderate to severe levels of psychological distress, leading to higher levels of stress-related illnesses such as high blood pressure.
- There has been a 54 percent increase in treatments for lowering cholesterol among baby boomers.
- 40 percent of baby boomers are overweight or obese.
- Starting in 2003, the number of baby boomers covered by a private health insurance has decreased.
Beating the Baby Boomer Blues
Even though this study discovered that baby boomers are living longer with a lower quality of life, this certainly doesn’t mean that you cannot live a long, happy and healthy life! The key is taking care of your body at any age.
We know it seems like this is easier said than done, but there are in fact some simple steps you can take to beat those baby boomer blues!
- Make annual physical exams with your doctor a priority. We know these may make many of us uncomfortable, but seeing your doctor on a regular basis can help you determine any future health risks and even help you manage any health issues you may be currently facing.
- Eat a healthy diet. There really is truth to the phrase “you are what you eat!” Some of the most essential foods that help you live longer and feel better are grains, vegetables, fruits, protein and calcium.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise! 150 minutes a week is the recommended amount of exercise for baby boomers. This may seem like a lot, but between walking, yoga, swimming and even gardening, you have endless options to choose from.
- Be social. This may be surprising, but being socially active can have just a big an impact on your overall health as your diet and exercise routine. Whether it’s with a family game night, going out to lunch with friends or even just checking in with neighbors, try and find new ways to be social at least two to three times a week.