Generation X, millennials are in worse health than previous generations

Amy Norton
Health Day reporter

Thursday, March 25, 2021 (HealthDay News)-Medicine may have advanced by leaps and bounds in the last century, but the health of the X generations and millennials is worse than that of their parents and grandparents.

This is the conclusion of a new study that focuses on physiological and physiological indicators. Mental Health Spanning generations.

Overall, over time, the downward trend is obvious: Generation X and Millennials are in worse shape in terms of various physical health measures.They also reported more anxiety with Depressive symptoms, Heavy drinking and drug use.

Benjamin Miller, chief strategy officer of Well Welling Trust, a non-profit organization in Oakland, California, said that unfortunately, these findings are not surprising.

Miller, who was not involved in the study, said: “Such research confirms what we know.”

In recent years, the number of well-documented causes of death across the country has increased suicide, Drug and alcohol abuse, some experts label it as “desperate death.”

carry on

Miller said these deaths accelerated during and after the 2008 recession, and there has been little change since.

Generation X usually refers to Americans born between 1965 and 1980, while millennials (or Generation Y) are usually referred to as including people between 1981 and the mid-1990s. In this study, the range is from 1981 to 1999.

In general, both generations are worse off in terms of “physiological disorders”, including elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, excess abdominal fat, and certain substances in the blood, which indicate that the body is in a state of chronic inflammation.

The study authors said that with the emergence of baby boomers, signs of physiological disorders began to increase compared with those born before 1946 and have continued to worsen since then.

Xu Zheng, associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University in Columbus, said that physiological disorders are considered a precursor to various chronic diseases and a risk factor for early death.

An obvious potential suspect is obesity. Zheng’s analysis shows that the rising obesity rate explains part of the decline in physical health, but not all.

carry on

Zheng said that no single study can find the root of such a complicated problem. However, it is already clear that the solution is not only to tell Americans to eat better and exercise more.

Zheng said: “The decline in the health of the younger generation is not only a personal problem, but also a social problem.” “Society needs to change. [obesity-promoting] Environment, reduce inequality, and enhance the work safety of the younger generation. “

Miller also made the same point.

He said: “If you just point out that obesity is the problem, you can never really solve it.” “This is a social problem, and this is an economic problem.”

Research results, recently published in American Journal of Epidemiology, Based on data from 688,000 Americans, they participated in one of two long-running government health studies.

When it comes to lifestyle habits, people have been drinking heavily since the X generation, especially between whites and blacks. At the same time, drug abuse peaked in the baby boomers, then declined, and then rose again in the “late” generation X (born between 1973 and 1980).

carry on

At least among white Americans, there has been a similar decline in mental health.

Assess depression and anxiety by asking participants about their symptoms in the past month. Overall, Zheng’s team found that from baby boomers to babies, these two conditions are becoming more and more common among white adults.

However, among blacks and Hispanics, although physical health indicators continue to decline, depression and anxiety rates have flattened since the baby boom.

Zheng said the discovery was surprising and there was no obvious explanation.

Miller said this may be related to the limited methods of measuring depression and anxiety. He also pointed out that studies have shown that suicide behavior among black adolescents has been on the rise in recent years.

According to Miller, all the trends seen in this study—increasing drug abuse and physical and mental health—may have common roots because they are all interrelated.

Work insecurity, worries about paying rent and food, loneliness and isolation, lack of affordable health care, and systematic racism can all be factors.

carry on

Miller said: “These are fundamentally structural issues.” “If people are given a moderately paid job, it will have a profound impact on their physical and mental health.”

This raises the question that the pandemic and its economic and social impact will ultimately affect the well-being of generations.

In a study last year, the Welfare Foundation predicted that there may be another 75,000 pandemic-related desperate deaths in the United States.

More information

Happiness Trust has Mental health resources.

Source: Zheng Zheng, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University, Columbus. Benjamin Miller, Chief Strategy Officer, Oakland Happiness Foundation, California; American Journal of Epidemiology, March 18, 2021, online

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