Are boomers any healthier?


Over my dozen or so years of practice I have often posed this curiosity question to my baby boomer clientsÉ do you think you are in better shape or healthier than your parentsÕ generation? The answer is an unequivocal absolutely Òyes,Ó yet a recent study shows that we are not as healthy as our parents.

No one was more surprised than myself. Although my parents were healthy and active they didnÕt run on treadmills or use elliptical trainers, they werenÕt found up at five or six lifting weights to prevent muscle loss, pushing vitamins and antioxidants, drinking bottled water, or for that matter I donÕt think I ever heard them discuss or talk much about exercise and the health benefits that could be gained by exercising regularly. SoÉ whereÕs the rub? One can hardly pick up a newspaper, magazine or turn on the TV these days without hearing something about health and exercise. With all the advances in health and exercise it hardly seems possible that this generation is not the healthiest generation ever.

Looking at this realistically and as objectively as I can, I donÕt think itÕs as clear cut as they would like it to be. The baby boomer generation faces different challenges, has different and improved health tools at their disposal and is more educated about the proper care and feeding of the body but, is much more stressed with fast-paced lifestyles. Our parents had a better quality of air, water and foods that were far less processed and the rates of obesity, cancer and other chronic degenerative diseases were less, but they suffered a far greater number of deadly strokes, heart attacks and infectious diseases than the boomer generation.

I have not seen the study as yet and IÕm sure the evidence weighs in on their side just, as I am sure that a study could be done that would disprove their study. Medicine and the studies it produces will never be the exact science we would like it to be. The human factor is just too big to measure and be exact.

What I do think the boomer generation has going for it is a willingness to discuss, look at all the angles, and a certain level of candor about our health and our bodies that our parents didnÕt have. The same spirit that protested against a war is the same spirit we take with us to the doctorÕs office to question. Whereas our parents would have, and still do think that what the doctor says should not be questioned. We better understand the difference between quantity of life and quality and even though it may mean a shorter life we are willing to make those choices.

Studies are always good, but we shouldnÕt let them frighten or discourage us. We learn from them and gain understanding. And, in this case even if itÕs just to say, donÕt count us baby boomers out, we may yet come up with a better wheel.

Till next time, Rebecca.