Survey: Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials Define Being Healthy Differently

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Kids these days — they’re just not as healthy as we are, or our parents were.

That’s generally the sentiment of about 1,800 people surveyed this spring by Harris Interactive for a study commissioned by Aetna. The Hartford-based health insurance company is in the midst of a major marketing campaign aimed at health awareness and individuality as it tries to sell people individual health insurance plans.

The study asked people aged 25 to 64 which generation is the healthiest. Forty-five percent said their own generation has that distinction, 32 percent said it was their parents’ generation, and 23 percent said it was a younger generation.

In the Baby Boomers category, the study included only those who have not yet reached the Medicare eligibility age of 65: those 49 to 64 years old. Gen X was defined in the study as people 37 to 48, and Millennials were defined as people 25 to 36.

Twice as many Boomers than either Generation X or Millennials defined “being healthy” as getting recommended medical screenings and checkups.

Asked if being healthy means good eating habits, the following agreed: 24 percent of Millennials, 14 percent of Generation X, and 12 percent of Baby Boomers.

Asked if it meant regular physical activity, the following agreed: 22 percent of Millennials, 14 percent of Generation X, and 12 percent of Baby Boomers.

Stress can lead to drinking alcohol and eating unhealthy food. The following said they reach for alcohol when stressed: 37 percent of Millennials, 23 percent of Generation X and 16 percent of Boomers. The following said they snack on unhealthy food when dealing with stress: 51 percent of Millennials, 48 percent of Generation X and 36 percent of Baby Boomers.

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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