Nearly half of older American millennials have at least one chronic health condition, studies have found. Born between 1981 and 1996, millennials are on track to become the largest generation in the U.S. Here are three things to know about the health of the millennial generation.
1. 44% of older American millennials have a chronic health condition
According to a recent survey by the Harris Poll for CNBC, 44% of older American millennials born between 1981 and 1988 have at least one chronic health condition. The atudy was conducted with over 4,000 American adults, with 830 of them ranging in age from 33 to 40.
Dr. George’s Benjamin attributes much of the health risk millennials have to “hypertension, diabetes and obesity” as well as related illnesses and diseases. Other major illness among millennials include: “migraine headaches, major depression and asthma (which rank among the top 3 ailments.”
2. Millennials are less healthy than their predecessors in Generation X
In addition to a bulk of older American millennials having chronic health conditions, a recent Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) study reveals they are less healthy than their predecessors in Generation X.
“The report found that millennials had substantially higher diagnoses for eight of the top 10 health conditions than Generation X, and based on their current health status, millennials are more likely to be less healthy when they’re older, compared to Gen Xers,” a summary of the study states.
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Some of this is due to the fact that millennials are less likely to have a Primary Care Physician and seek preventive care.
“Based on these findings, we’re seeing that millennials are not seeking preventative care and it’s not only having an effect on their immediate health, but will significantly impact their long-term health as well,” said Vincent Nelson, MD, vice president, Medical Affairs for BCBSA. “With millennials on track to become the largest generation in the near future, it’s critical that they’re taking their health maintenance seriously. Our plan is to address this issue now to ensure millennials, and all Americans, take a proactive role in maintaining their health and wellbeing.”
3. Millennial women are less healthy than their male peers.
The BCBSA study also found millennial women are 20 percent less healthy than their male counterparts due to “major depression, type II diabetes and endocrine conditions.”
4. With increased health risks, millennials’ finances and lifespans are also affected
According to CNBC, millennials – who are already struggling financially having faced so much adversity during their lifetimes – have increased financial instability due to being unhealthier.
“Studies show those with at least one chronic condition spend twice as much on out-of-pocket health-care expenses than those without any medical issues. Those with two concurrent chronic health issues spend five times as much,” CNBC reported.
Benjamin concurred with the report. “At the end of the day, if these trends continue, then you’ll have higher health-care costs,” Benjamin said. “You’ll be exchanging the baby boomer generation for a generation with even higher health-care costs just because of normal inflation and the fact these chronic diseases are there.”