A recent study conducted by the researchers at the Ohio State University has revealed an alarming trend of declining mental and physical health among Generation X (born between 1965 to 1980) and Generation Y (born between 1981 and 1996) compared to their parents and grandparents at the same age.
In a report which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the researchers pointed out that members of Generation X and Generation Y showed poorer physical health, higher levels of unhealthy behavior such as alcohol use and smoking, and more depression and anxiety compared to their previous generations.
Prof. Hui Zheng, lead researcher of the study remarked that the study results hint at higher levels of diseases and more deaths among the younger generations than seen in the past.
“The worsening health profiles we found in Gen X and Gen Y is alarming.
If we don’t find a way to slow this trend, we are potentially going to see an expansion of morbidity and mortality rates in the United States as these generations get older.”
The team at the Ohio State University analyzed available data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988-2016 (62,833 respondents) and the National Health Interview Survey 1997-2018 (625,221 respondents) conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.
The team also used low urinary albumin, a marker of chronic inflammation and creatinine clearance, an additional marker of renal function for their analysis.
Researchers found that measures of physical health deteriorated from the Baby Boomer generation through Gen X and Gen Y.
“The declining health trends in recent generations is a shocking finding. It suggests we may have a challenging health prospect in the US in coming years,” Prof. Zheng replied.
The lead researcher stated that the team might not be able to comprehensively explain the reasons behind the health decline due to the limitation of the study. Meanwhile, the researchers did study the influence of smoking and obesity on these declining numbers but results weren’t conclusive.