While baby boomers are living longer than any previous generation, they also have the dubious distinction of having the highest rates of obesity for their age bracket than any other generation. In 1994, 31 percent of those between the ages of 55 and 64 were obese; by 2002, the rate had climbed to 39 percent [source: Trust for America's Health].
Not only are baby boomers more obese than the previous generation, they became more obese at an earlier age, and women in their 50s are the most likely to be obese [source: Trust for America's Health].
Boomers have a lot to gain by losing a little. Many already have obesity-related health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Recent research indicates that an average reduction of 3.74 pounds (1.7 kilograms) per person would result in 178,000 fewer cases of coronary heart disease and 890,000 fewer diabetics [source: Goodwin].
One study even found that adults between ages 60 and 74 were four times more likely to be depressed if they were obese [source: Pappas]. And obesity and aging joints is not a good mix, meaning that creaking knees will suffer more wear and tear when holding up someone who enjoys an extra trip back to the buffet table.
Fortunately, there are lots of weight-loss options available for boomers, and all the good ones revolve around an age-old formula for shedding pounds: eating less and exercising more. That's something any generation can get behind.
Keep reading for lots more information about baby boomer health trends.
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- Fox News. "Coffee's Protection Against Alzheimer's." June 30, 2010. (June 10, 2011) http://www.foxnews.com/health/2010/06/30/coffees-protection-alzheimers/
- Goodwin, Jenifer. "Obesity, Bum Knees Robbing Seniors of Good Years: Study." HealthDay News. Feb. 14, 2011. (June 10, 2011) http://health.msn.com/health-topics/aging/obesity-bum-knees-robbing-seniors-of-good-years-study
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- Hartman Group. "Baby Boomers Lead the Way in Health and Wellness Trends." Mar. 29, 2011. (June 10, 2011) http://www.hartman-group.com/news/press-releases/baby-boomers-lead-the-way-in-health-and-wellness-trends
- Harvard School of Public Health. "Reinventing Aging: Baby Boomers and Civic Engagement." 2004. (June 10, 2011) www.hsph.harvard.edu/chc/reinventingaging/Report.pdf
- Hille, Karl B. "Feds urge easing rules as boomers discover prescription painkillers." The Washington Examiner. Sep. 12, 2006. (June 10, 2011) http://washingtonexaminer.com/local/feds-urge-easing-rules-boomers-discover-prescription-painkillers#ixzz1PelrcNZz
- National Coffee Association of U.S.A. "National Coffee Drinking Trends 2009." Mar. 21, 2009. (June 10, 2011) http://www.ncausa.org/custom/headlines/headlinedetails.cfm?id=667&returnto=171
- National Coffee Association of U.S.A. "US Consumer Trends 2010." 2010. (June 10, 2011) http://www.ncausa.org/custom/headlines/headlinedetails.cfm?id=667&returnto=171
- Pappas, Stephanie. "Depression Soars in Obese Seniors." Mar. 24, 2011. (June 10, 2011)
- Pennington, Bill. "Baby Boomers Stay Active, and So Do Their Doctors." The New York Times. Apr. 16, 2006. (June 10, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/16/sports/16boomers.html
- Rogers, Michael. "Boomers and Technology: An Extended Conversation." Oct. 2009. (June 10, 2011) http://assets.aarp.org/www.aarp.org_/articles/computers/2009_boomers_and_technology_final_report.pdf
- Sheps, Sheldon G., M.D. "How does caffeine affect blood pressure?" Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Nov. 14, 2009. (June 10, 2011) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/blood-pressure/AN00792
- Singer, Natasha. "In a Graying Population, Business Opportunity." The New York Times. Feb. 5, 2011. (June 10, 2011) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/business/06aging.html
- Stein, Rob. "Baby Boomers Appear to Be Less Healthy Than Parents." The Washington Post. Apr. 20, 2007. (June 10, 2011) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/19/AR2007041902458.html
- Trust for America's Health. "Baby Boomers and Obesity." June 10, 2011. (June 10, 2011) http://healthyamericans.org/pages/?id=254
- Whole Foods Market. "National survey shows organic foods now represent larger part of total food purchases." Aug. 16, 2010. (June 10, 2011) http://wholefoodsmarket.com/pressroom/blog/2010/08/16/national-survey-shows-organic-foods-now-represent-larger-part-of-total-food-purchases/
- Wilson, Kathryn M. "Coffee Consumption and Prostate Cancer Risk and Progression in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study." Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Apr. 1, 2011. (June 10, 2011) http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/05/17/jnci.djr151.abstract
Baby boomers should get weight-bearing exercise to improve bone health and balance. See the top five reasons for baby boomers to get weight-bearing exercise.