In a scientific study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American Medical Association JAMA Internal Medicine, US researchers compared health data of two different cohorts from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (King et al. 2013). Health status and chronic disease, amongst other aspects, were investigated in the baby boomer generation (born 1946 until 1964) and the previous generation. Data from persons belonging to either cohort were evaluated, when aged between 46 to 64 years.

The researchers found that baby boomers were statistically significantly more likely to suffer from diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia than earlier born people at the same age. The prevalence of obesity was increased in the baby boomer cohort, but this effect became insignificant after adjustment for confounding factors. In addition, cancer was slightly more prevalent in baby boomers, albeit not statistically significant. Baby boomers smoked less but,  exercised less, reported more moderate drinking and had significantly lower self-rated health status.

The authors state that “the findings from the present study […] support an increased likelihood for continued rising health care costs […].” They call for more attention on prevention of chronic disease.


King, D. E., et al. (2013). “The Status of Baby Boomers’ Health in the United States: The Healthiest Generation?” JAMA Internal Medicine: 1-2.

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