Baby boomers facing more health risks than prior generations

According to a new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, members of the baby boomer generation are enjoying longer life spans than their forefathers. However, they might not be experiencing healthy aging.

An ABC News article on the study – which was led by West Virginia University professor Dana E. King, M.D., M.S. –  said that people born between 1946 and 1964 have worse high blood pressure rates and higher cholesterol, as well as more instances of obesity and diabetes than their parents did. On the plus side, the study authors wrote that baby boomers don’t smoke as many cigarettes, and therefore emphysema and heart attacks are decreasing among their demographic. 

Another write up from CBS News explains that approximately 78 million people were born in America during the post-World War II era who qualify as baby boomers. 

As for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular health, the news source cites experts who state that these problems may be reversible. 

“You can start to make a difference in your risk for all of these by making small changes in what you eat and how you move,” said ABC New’s medical editor, Richard Besser, M.D.. ”It may not be easy, but it’s very simple: Start small, achieve success, and build from there.”

Tips for keeping your blood pressure in check
Many sources point to numerous strategies people could apply to their daily lives to control their weight, cholesterol and blood pressure.  For instance, The Mayo Clinic encourages blood pressure-conscious individuals to exercise for 30 minutes a day and watch what kinds of foods they are eating regularly. The latter step can be done by writing down everything eaten, reading the labels of products at the supermarket before purchasing them and upping potassium intake. One way of enhancing potassium is adding certain multivitamins to a regimen, although the medical organization recommends fruits and vegetables.

Some advice for reducing cholesterol
Just like blood pressure, there are lots of easy ways to lower cholesterol back down to healthy levels. Harvard Medical School tells us that meat and unhealthy snack foods like potato chips and candy bars should be consumed on an infrequent basis. Fiber is noted as a component of many foods that has been known to help with cholesterol levels, as are complex carbohydrates. 

There’s quite a bit of crossover between The Mayo Clinic’s blood pressure lowering tips and Harvard’s cholesterol lowering hints. It’s said that alcohol should be drank in moderation and sodium intake needs to be closely monitored.