Are millennials the unhealthiest generation in history?

Longer working days, high levels of stress and poor diet are fuelling a health crisis for millions of young people – a fifth of millennials (aged 22-38) report they don’t know how to take care of themselves properly.

A recent study has suggested that despite still being a part of the younger section of society, the millennial generation is actually less healthy than Gen X (40-54) were at the same age. Millennials are often associated with health and fitness trends such as yoga and meditation but have also seen the highest levels of asthma and allergies ever recorded.

To understand the attitudes of millennials and younger people in the UK, ANCON Medical conducted nationally-representative research on the habits and sentiments of this generation, finding:

  • 18% of millennials report that they don’t know how to take care of themselves properly compared to just 4% of those over 55 years old
  • 35% of millennials believe that they are less healthy than their parents
  • 22% of millennials don’t consider their own health to be a priority
  • 27% of millennials feel they are too young for vices such as smoking or drinking to affect their health
  • 49% of millennials have not visited a doctor in five years

These statistics suggest that not only are millennials growing up in an increasing unhealthy environment, but also that they are not currently taking their health seriously or making it a priority. Despite the far greater understanding of the impact vices such as smoking and drinking have on our health, it is still a prominent source of poor health as young people ignore health advice, especially around Christmas and special occasions.

Where diet is concerned:

  • 18% of millennials eat more takeout food than home-cooked
  • 18% don't know how to cook a good/healthy meal from scratch
  • 15% say the majority of their main meals are microwave meals

Mental health:

  • 38% of millennials feel that they have had undiagnosed anxiety and depression for several years
  • 39% think that their work-life balance is negatively affecting their physical and mental health
  • 33% ignore consistent symptoms of depression as they are too busy

As the millennial generation grows older, the effect of these factors will likely become more apparent and reveal what impact poor diet, air pollution and mental health burdens have had on a generation.

Wesley Baker, CEO of ANCON Medical, says: “The increased demands and stresses from work and the environment that young people are currently living with is without a doubt having an impact on the health and wellbeing of a generation. The lack of time to take care of yourself properly is a key issue for our future health and so it is worrying to see that so many are unable to prioritise their health due to pressures at work.

“Catching illnesses early is one of the most effective ways of tackling them and it is concerning to see that this generation are going without visits to the doctor while living a lifestyle that is, in many ways, acutely unhealthy. You lay the foundations for your health in later life in your twenties and thirties.”

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