Are Baby Boomers Older, Sicker, Fatter and More Sedentary?

Baby boomers are "older, sicker, fatter and more sedentary" than the previous generation, according to Dr Beth Seidenberg's article Baby Boomers: Here’s How Digital Health Tools Can Save You Money – And Save Your Life

Boomers have higher rates of chronic disease and lower self-rated health than members of the previous generation at the same age, according to a 2013 JAMAInternal Medicine study. Obesity is significantly higher amongst Boomers (38.7% vs. 29.4%); rates of hypertension, diabetes and hypercholesterolemia also are higher. Boomers exercise less than the previous generation (35.0% vs. 49.9% exercise more than 12 times a month). Half of all Boomers report zero regular physical activity.Forecasters say the number of Boomers with multiple chronic diseases will quadruple by 2030.

Dr Seidenberg offers some hope, asking whether Baby Boomers may turn this around by becoming high-level adopters of digital health products, using these products to raising their awareness of their own health and physical fitness, and through this improving their health and fitness significantly. The most common digital products in this area are 

  • Activity tracking  eg Jawbone and FitBit

  • Food intake and weight loss recording eg MyFitnessPal

Do you use either of these?

She also mentions two great ideas, already operating in the US, but I am unaware of them in Australia. 

  • Telemedicine and remote monitoring – Visit your doctor online not in the surgery

  • Tools which enable you to compare the costs of different medical services so you can make an informed decision about which doctor, hospital or procedure suits you. 

Would you use these services if they were available to us in Australia?

Over 50s are generally digitally competent and are often early adopters of new technology.    Are you currently using a health and fitness app or product to motivate or inform your health and fitness efforts?  If so what difference has it made for you?


Jenni Proctor

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