It may appear as if health and wellness is a top priority for millennials, but new research reveals that they are actually more likely to be less healthy than the older Generation X.
Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, make up nearly 73 million of the people in the United States. With such a huge chunk of the population belonging to this generation, it's essential that the health of millennials is properly measured and improved.
Millennials Are Less Healthy Than Generation X, Says Study
According to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index that focuses on 55 million millennials in the United States with commercial insurance, millennials are less healthy than Gen Xers at the same age.
Researchers compared Gen Xers 34 to 36 years old in 2014 with millennials 34 to 36 years old in 2017. Findings show that millennials have much higher prevalence rates for eight of the top 10 health conditions, including major depression, substance use disorder, hypertension, hyperactivity, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, tobacco use disorder, and type 2 diabetes.
Psychotic conditions have a higher prevalence among Gen Xers, but alcohol use disorder has equal prevalence between the two generations.
While 83 percent of millennials consider themselves in good or excellent health, one-third of millennials have health conditions that decrease their quality of life and life expectancy.
Furthermore, only 68 percent of millennials have a primary care physician compared to 91 percent of Generation X who have it, which is widely known to be a significant factor of preventative 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," explained Vincent Nelson, MD, the BCBSA vice president for medical affairs in a press release from BCBS.
The Future Of Millennial Health
Millennial health will have a considerable impact on the national economy through the next two decades, particularly in areas such as workplace productivity and healthcare costs. To quantify and qualify how their health will affect the economy in the future, BCBS is partnering with Moody's Analytics in an upcoming report.
"With millennials on track to become the largest generation in the near future, it's critical that they're taking their health maintenance seriously," Nelson continued. "Our plan is to address this issue now to ensure millennials, and all Americans, take a proactive role in maintaining their health and wellbeing."