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Previous generation to boomers healthier

Feb. 6, 2013 at 1:44 AM   |   Comments

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The overall health status of baby boomers appears lower than the previous generation, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. Dana E. King of the West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown and colleagues said 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.

King and colleagues studied the overall reported health status of aging baby boomers compared with the previous generation by analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.

The study, published in the journal Internal Medicine, found the overall health status was lower among baby boomers with 13.2 percent reporting "excellent" health compared with 32 percent of individuals in the previous generation.

Thirty-seven percent of baby boomers were obese compared with 29.4 percent of the previous generation, and more than half of the baby boomers -- 52.2 percent -- reported no regular physical activity compared with 17.4 percent of the previous generation.

The average age of the participants in the groups studied was about age 54, King said.

"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," King said in a statement. "On a positive note, baby boomers are less likely to smoke cigarettes and experience lower rates of emphysema and myocardial infarction than the previous generation."

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