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Baby Boomers Face Health Challenges

Saturday, 07 January 2012 11:10 AM

Life expectancy is up – today it’s close to 80 – but so are the costs and demand for health care. If current disease trends continue, a large segment of the American population may spend their golden years sick and broke.

Baby boomers in the U.S. are 76 million strong and make up almost half (42 percent) of the country’s adult population. ‘Baby boomers’ usually refer to those born between 1946 and 1964, in the 20-year period after the end of World War II.

The oldest boomers turned 65 last year – an age at which most people are managing multiple medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, hearing and vision disorders. Almost half of all doctor visits, and one-third of prescription drug use and health care spending are attributed to those 65 and older.

Meanwhile, Medicare is currently set to run out of money in 2029, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, while rates of serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease continue to grow.

As things stand now, there will not be enough health care resources available for boomers as they age. Wellness and prevention must play a bigger role if we are to keep our aging population healthy. This includes boomers themselves making lifestyle changes and taking charge of their move toward better health. Alternative therapies such as supplements, herbs, homeopathic medicines may play a larger role in this new health care environment.

Instead of lifespan, boomers would do well to think in terms of their “fitness span,” that is, how long they are able to stay fit. Given that health and fitness levels begin to decline at age 40, now is the time to start thinking about health differently.

© HealthDay

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If current disease trends continue, a large segment of the American population may spend their golden years sick and broke.
Saturday, 07 January 2012 11:10 AM
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