The Growing Pains of Baby-Boomers


Anyone born immediately after World War II will always cherish their memories of growing up in an era of simplicity, innocence and exploration. Unfortunately, they are now paying for it all in a big way.

In a survey of about 5,000 people born between 1948 and 1953, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that baby boomers have worse health and more aches and pains than their predecessors. Baby boomers smoke less, but they hurt more, suffer from more depression and have more chronic health conditions.

According to medical internist Dr. Edward Fortnoy, who focuses on people between the ages of 50 and 70, “We’ve grown up in an era where the answer was taking a pill for everything. I think they felt as long as they take a pill, (they) don’t have to exercise or watch what (they) eat.”

Undoubtedly, boomers exercise more. Whether taking full advantage of a YMCA program, an independent gym or simply walking or jogging around a neighborhood park faithfully, they’re certainly more active. For that reason, however, many of them are in more pain.

They’re also getting bigger, with 70.7 percent of adult Americans considered overweight or obese in 2014. Because they’re carrying more weight, boomers are seeing an increase in joint pain and muscular maladies. Their cholesterol is also higher, and they depend on medicines like Lipitor to help control it.

A contributing cause to their weight problem is that they have become more affluent than their predecessors. The extra money makes them better able and more willing to eat out, largely at fast-food restaurants which are notorious for their less-than-healthy menus. Furthermore, they can hire people to manicure their lawns, wash their cars and do household chores, rather than take on those responsibilities themselves.

As the American economy has become more upscale and less dependent upon heavy labor and farming, boomers find themselves spending long periods of their day either sitting at their desks or standing in one position in salesrooms. In both cases, because they are sedentary, they do not expend enough of the calories they consume.

The NBER study included data from a federally funded Heath and Retirement Study, which showed people born from 1936 to 1941 reported fewer physical problems that those born during the next six years. In turn, those people reported even fewer problems than those who came into this world after 1947. In all three groups, women were prone to report more health problems in their 50s than men.

To aggravate the problem, boomers have become more tense and worried over national and world political situations, the economy, and most recently, global warming. For many, these were not major concerns as they were growing up, so they react adversely to the information spewing from their TVs and radios. When they turn this reaction inward, every ache and pain they have is amplified.

Whatever the diagnoses of their physical ailments, the prognoses can be good if they find physicians who are willing to counsel them on the importance of proper exercise and diet, as well as examples of how to do both efficiently. There is an alternative to this, and it’s grim. It will mean more medical care, more medication and more pressure on the government to help them get those. Of course, that all equates to more money spent and nerves frayed.

It is up to the boomers to put their resolutions to diet and exercise into action and follow up on them faithfully. As one physician puts it, “As you exercise and diet, remember two important words: Monitor and Moderation. That will keep you on the right track if you’re serious about feeling better.”

Living at Baxter Senior Living in Anchorage Alaska At Baxter Senior Living, we work to ensure that our community is an extension of your loved ones family. If you are at a place in your life that you need to discuss Anchorage Assisted Living, Anchorage Memory Care, or Anchorage Respite Care please reach out today. We are happy to help answer any questions. Contact a Baxter Senior Living Representative today! 907-865-3500

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