What do major depression, Type 2 diabetes and Crohn’s disease have in common?
Other than the fact that they’re all bad for you, the answer is: They’re among the 10 most common health conditions affecting millennials. And, according to new data from the nationwide health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield, they’re all becoming increasingly prevalent among those in that age group.
Millennials, the generation born between 1981 and 1996, are moving further into adulthood and they’re now seeing significant growth in the rates of health conditions they used to observe in their parents. These include hypertension, substance-use disorder, alcohol-use disorder, tobacco-use disorder, hyperactivity, psychotic conditions, and high cholesterol.
Between 2014 and 2017, many of these conditions increased in prevalence among millennials by 20 percent or more.
Unfortunately, that’s not all the bad news. Among those ages 34 to 36, the data show higher rates of eight of those top 10 conditions than among Gen Xers when they were the same ages. Generation X includes people born between 1965 and 1980. The sad reality is that across these two generations, America’s overall health seems to be getting worse.
One contributing factor is that around 90 percent of Generation X has primary care doctors, while just under 70 percent of millennials have such care. As Blue Cross Blue Shield notes, this means the younger generation is significantly less likely to get preventive health care.
Are you listening, millennials? Don’t be the unhealthiest generation. Make sure you have a good doctor, and embrace preventive care. We all need you for a healthier future.