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Aging and Gen X: Study Reveals Xers Want To Live Past 90

Slackers Aging: The generation that’s been perpetually too young and old at the same time faces the stress of aging.

Bruce Springsteen, Madonna
Way before Nirvana
There was U2 and Blondie
And music still on M-T-V
Her two kids in high school
They tell her that she’s uncool
But she’s still preoccupied
With 19, 19, 1985
1985, Bowling for Soup
Generation X and Aging: A far cry from when we were young. Homecoming 1985 Esperanza High School

Football Homecoming, 1985 | Esperanza High School, Anaheim, California 

Gen-Xers (Americans born between 1961 and 1981) want to live well into old age, but compared to the Baby Boomers who preceded them, they’re more overwhelmed, worried and basically slacking when it comes to their health, according to a new MDVIP survey released yesterday.

Generation X and Exercise, Doctors Visits

The MDVIP Health and Longevity Survey reveals that more than half of Gen Xers (53 percent) want to live past the age of 90, including more than a quarter wanting to live over 100. However, neglecting their health and making poor lifestyle choices are setting them up to fall short of reaching old age.

  • Only half (55 percent) of Gen Xers – versus 72 percent of Boomers – have had an annual physical exam in the past five years.
  • One in three (32 percent) Gen Xers avoid going to the doctor out of fear of finding something wrong.
  • Two out of three Gen Xers admit they could be doing a better job of exercising regularly (67 percent), eating well (66 percent), maintaining a healthy weight (63 percent) and managing stress (66 percent).

Life Expectancy of Americans Declines

Meanwhile, the life expectancy for Americans has declined for the first time in 20 years1. Nearly half of all American adults suffer from at least one chronic health condition2, and many of these conditions, such as hypertension, heart disease and diabetes, could be prevented through lifestyle changes. MDVIP, a national leader in personalized, preventive healthcare, partnered with Ipsos Public Affairs to survey Gen Xers and Baby Boomers on their health habits, views on longevity and expectations of aging.

The MDVIP survey findings serve as a wake-up call for Gen Xers, who could be heading down a path to live shorter lifespans with more chronic disease than the generations before them,” said Dr. Andrea Klemes, Chief Medical Officer of MDVIP. “The good news is that people in their 30s, 40s and early 50s can change the course of both their current and future health. Getting screened, understanding their risks and making even simple lifestyle changes today can have a significant impact on the quality and length of their lives.”

Aging Sandwich Generation

Wedged between the Baby Boomers and Millennials, Gen X is often described as the “sandwich generation.” Many are juggling demanding careers while caring for children as well as aging parents. This leaves little time for Gen Xers to prioritize their own health.

  • Looking ahead 20 years from now, Gen Xers expect to be working (46 percent), caring for their parents (22 percent), caring for grandchildren (35 percent), and even supporting adult children (14 percent).
  • Half (50 percent) of Gen Xers expect that they will have to help family members pay for healthcare costs.

Xers Not Getting Recommended Screenings

The majority of Gen Xers believe their lifestyle choices play an equal (66 percent) or greater (20 percent) role than genetics in their health and how long they live. Yet, Gen Xers are less likely to take preventive health measures compared to their Boomer counterparts. Only 40 percent of Gen Xers – versus 55 percent of Boomers – are getting the recommended screening tests for timely disease detection.

Gen Xers share a range of fears about aging, with more than half (56 percent) saying they’re afraid of getting old, and 70 percent thinking about their own mortality more now than they did 10 years ago.

  • When it comes to aging, Gen Xers are more worried than Boomers about loneliness (19 percent versus 15 percent, respectively), looking older (12 percent versus 6 percent), and having less sex (10 percent versus 5 percent).
  • Gen Xers are most anxious about dementia, losing independence and declining physical abilities.
  • Three out of four (74 percent) Gen Xers are worried about having enough money to cover health expenses during retirement, and 68 percent of Gen Xers are concerned that the quality of healthcare will diminish over the next 10 years.

Innovative models of healthcare like MDVIP that are focused on prevention play an important role in helping reverse the negative trends in Americans’ health and longevity,” said Bret Jorgensen, Chairman and CEO of MDVIP. “Whether you’re a Gen Xer who wants to get ahead of your health or a Boomer who may be managing a chronic illness, MDVIP-affiliated physicians partner with patients and provide personalized wellness coaching and tools to help them lead healthier lives. Published data has shown that our doctors are performing more recommended preventive care and more effectively managing chronic conditions – proof that our model works.”

Does the study reveal how you feel about aging?

1. Mortality in the United States, 2015. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed on January 5, 2017.
2. Chronic Disease Overview. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Accessed on January 5, 2017.
Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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