Study Finds Millennials are Less Healthy than Generation X Were at the Same Age

April 25 - Posted at 1:00 PM Tagged: , , , , ,

A third of millennials have health conditions that reduce their quality of life and life expectancy, according to a new study of medical claims by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index (BCBS Health Index). The report found that millennials had substantially higher diagnoses for eight of the top 10 health conditions than Generation X, and based on their current health status, millennials are more likely to be less healthy when they’re older, compared to Gen Xers. These findings are based off of a study of millennials who were between the ages of 34 and 36 in 2017 and Gen Xers who were 34 to 36 in 2014. 

The biggest health differences between the two generations was the higher impact of physical conditions driven by increased cardiovascular and endocrine conditions, including diabetes. 

A recent Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) survey found that 83% of millennials consider themselves in good or excellent health, and that 68% of millennials have a primary care physician, compared to 91% of Generation X, which is an important factor in 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,” said Vincent Nelson, MD, vice president, Medical Affairs for BCBSA. “With millennials on track to become the largest generation in the near future, it’s critical that they’re taking their health maintenance seriously. Our plan is to address this issue now to ensure millennials, and all Americans, take a proactive role in maintaining their health and wellbeing.”

The Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report series, “The Health of Millennials,” examined the BCBS Health Index, a database of de-identified medical claims from more than 41 million commercially insured members of Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) companies. The findings revealed overall health begins to decline at the age of 27. 

Additional findings from the study are: 

  • Millennial women are 20% less healthy than their male counterparts, specifically driven by cases of major depression, type II diabetes and endocrine conditions. 
  • Millennials in southern states, particularly Alabama, West Virginia and Louisiana are the least healthy, while millennials in western states, such as California, Arizona, Nevada and Colorado are the healthiest. 

To identify key drivers of millennial health and how to improve it, BCBS companies will host Millennial Health Listening Sessions across the country. Through these workshops, BCBS companies will hear from millennials, leading health care experts, employers and digital leaders on how to improve the health of millennials. Independence Blue Cross will kick-start the listening sessions by hosting the first one on April 25 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

A millennial is someone who was born between 1981 and 1996, and there are nearly 73 million millennials in the U.S. right now – the second largest generation among commercially insured Americans. Gen Xers were born between 1965 and 1980. 

This is the 26th study of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series. For more information, visit https://www.bcbs.com/the-health-of-america
 

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