The latest research indicates that millennials – those born between the early 1980s and the first years of this century – are likely to enjoy greater longevity than any generation before them. While this sounds wonderful, the reality is that many of this generation may end up wishing they hadn’t been blessed with such long lives. The U.K.’s Daily Mail is reporting that while millennial women are expected to live to 83 and men to 79, as much as two decades of their lives could be spent suffering from debilitating health conditions.
Sadly, this generation’s incredibly unhealthy lifestyles are likely to mean that medication will allow them to drag their lifespans out, but not in a meaningful, healthy way.
A report by Public Health England (PHE) has found that there will be a significant difference between millennials’ life expectancy in terms of just years lived, and their “healthy” life expectancy – the period during which they can enjoy optimal health. And the problem is steadily worsening. [Related: Find tips to maximize your “healthy” life expectancy at Longevity.news.]
Boys born between 2000 and 2002, will likely experience ill health in the last 15.4 years of their lives, while girls born during the same time period will struggle for the last 18.1 years. On the other hand, boys born a decade later, between 2013 and 2015, are predicted to battle poor health for the final 16.1 years of the lives, and girls born during that time will fight the same battle for 19.1 years.
The report found that millennials will suffer through these years with a “toxic cocktail” of dementia, back pain and diabetes – all of which are caused by poor lifestyle choices earlier in life.
These choices include smoking, poor nutrition and a lack of exercise. [Related: Some millennials are making healthier choices, choosing booze-free bars and sober raves, and ditching alcohol.]
The Mail reports that two thirds of adults in the U.K. are now considered overweight or obese, and statistics from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDKK) indicate that the situation is very similar in the United States. Shockingly, this statistic even applies to children and adolescents in this country.
The PHE report found that in England just a little more than half of adults get the required 150 minutes a week of exercise. Again, these figures are mirrored in the United States, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that around 51.7 percent of adults over the age of 18 get sufficient weekly exercise.
Duncan Selbie, chief executive for Public Health England, stressed the need for each one of us to start taking responsibility for our health and making better choices now.
“It is about people being responsible for their own health. It’s too important to leave it to the state. I’m not interested in shouting at people or telling people what to do — I’ve never had a nanny in my life, this isn’t about nannyism. It’s not about telling people what to do, cuffing cigarettes out of their mouths or telling them not to drink. It’s about giving people the information to make their own choices.”
That really is it in a nutshell. If millennials make the right choices now – like increasing their intake of organic, non-GMO fruits and veggies, quitting smoking and incorporating exercise into their daily routines – they can be the generation that lives longer than any before it, while also enjoying better health than those who came before them.
Sources for this article include: