Australians — they’re just like us! And that’s not such a good thing … A new study from Aussie professor Graeme Hugo finds the proportion of Australian boomers with three or more chronic conditions is a whopping 700 percent greater than in the previous generation. And much like their American counterparts, Australian between ages 53 and 62 are more than twice as likely to be obese as their parents were at the same age.
Hugo, director of the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, said the country has a brief window of opportunity to reduce chronic, obesity-related conditions in the boomer generation in order to ensure they can keep leading active, socially productive lives as they age.
But that window won’t remain open for very long,” he added.
In addition to having higher obesity rates than their parents, Australian boomers have twice the rate of asthma and hearing loss, triple the rate of diabetes and almost double the cholesterol level of their parents’ generation.
American boomers also face higher rates of obesity and chronic diseases than previous generations. A 2005 study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that American boomers became obese at an earlier age and spend a longer portion of their lives overweight than their parents. Obesity-related arthritis was also up: While only 3 percent of arthritis cases were attributed to obesity in 1971, 18 percent were in 2002.
Friday Quick Hits:
・ Sleeping pills linked to dementia. A certain class of drugs used to treat insomnia or anxiety have been linked to increased dementia risk in adults over 65. In a new study published in the BMJ, French seniors who took these benzodiazepines or similar drugs — including Ambien, Halcion, Klonopin, Valium and Xanax — were 50 percent more likely to develop dementia in the next 15 years than those who didn’t.
・The root of gray hair. “As baby boomers watch their locks turn gray, the only thing going anywhere is a pigment called melanin, which gives hair its color,” explains New York Times blogger Eric Nagourney.
Photo: Will Burgess/Reuters