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Are baby boomers the unhealthiest generation?

Answered on December 01, 2013
Created November 30, 2013 at 8:52 PM

I eat a strict Paleo diet. My parents and in-laws consistently tell me how crazy I am. I ask them to tell me the name of just one of their cohorts that isn't on chronic medication and/or hasn't had to have a piece of their body (prostrate, gall-bladder, etc.) removed. So that got me thinking....Are baby boomers the most unhealthy generation yet?

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4 Answers

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F291857fa12a0291688ea994343156dc

(720)

on December 01, 2013
at 07:15 AM

I would posit that although the baby boomers are generally an unhealthy lot, subsequent generations seem to be on even worse health trajectory. Childhood obesity & early onset T2 diabetes were pretty rare amongst baby boomers but now seem much more common their kids & grandkids.

The good news is that changing ones diet can have immediate & amazingly positive health effects.

>>I ask them to tell me the name of just one of their cohorts that isn't on chronic medication and/or hasn't had to have a piece of their body (prostrate, gall-bladder, etc.) removed. <<

There are a number of us. :)

I think the problem is that the baby boomers are probably the first generation to eat a lifetime of "factory food" and to be kept alive long enough to suffer the ill effects. Parents of the baby boomers may have died from smoking or bad diet (heart attack / cancer) because medical advances to keep them alive weren't "there yet". Baby boomers have gotten "the full dose" and have the chronic conditions as a result. We're also the oldest generation to reap the "benefit" of low-fat frankenfoods. :(. Plus the "medical / pharma complex" just love pushing all manner of drugs.

0
Ba4acf0130809beb48b30575ec23ad8b

on November 30, 2013
at 11:37 PM

This is actually a fascinating question because there are so many confounding factors. I think it depends on your definition of "health."

For example, you could argue that baby boomers are the healthiest generation ever in terms of lifespan. You could also point out that they've had a higher quality of life than many previous generations.

However, the lifespan argument is a bit more nuanced. A lot of it has to do with reducing childhood obesity, and fewer people are living from 70 to 90 than before.

And although the standard of living is higher, that's not necessarily the same as "quality of life." There seems to be a health cliff that baby boomers go off of around 40, and obesity and degenerative diseases are higher than ever before.

As for the cause...there is obviously tons of debate there and that's for another post.

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56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on November 30, 2013
at 10:07 PM

If you live long enough you are going to be very unhealthy, and certainly the generations who had to make the transition between hunter gatherer and agricultural societies were far unhealthier than today's, life expectancy has still increased in this country over the decades. It is only now leveling off at a level which is about #20 in the world. The inexplicable thing is that it costs some 80+B$/year in drugs here to keep life expectancy at Cuban levels (google "CIA manual life expectancy").

Keep in mind that the profit model for big Pharma is big Tobacco. They try to make sure, by any means, that those billions keep flowing. Recently they have tried (through the AHA) to double the number of people on statins, basically on the ground that they are anti-inflammatory. But of course there are far more potent methods, and specifically far more potent foods, that do the same.

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on November 30, 2013
at 09:35 PM

We certainly have the medical facilities geared up and ready for us. It would be difficult to compare generations. We have more meds, more devices and a more sedentary lifestyle than previous generations. You younger people have the advantage of seeing how bad off the older folks are and can learn from it. I'm on the tail end of the boomers gen, and I woke up before it was too late - no meds or endless doctor visits for me.

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