Aging baby boomers are fatter and sicker than their predecessors were at the same age, says a new study that’s raising alarms about the future costs of health care and disability.
The study, published online on Feb. 4 by JAMA Internal Medicine, says boomers were less likely to report excellent health and to do regular exercise, and more likely to suffer from obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and other maladies. To pick one sorrowful example, they were twice as likely to use a “walking assist device,” such as a cane. (See below for a statistical table.)
Boomers who are in poor health will not only have more expensive health care; they are more likely to retire early, depriving employers of their specialized knowledge. That’s bad news for companies like Chrysler, FedEx (FDX), J.C. Penney (JCP), Raytheon (RTN), and Vanguard Group. All of those companies are members of the San Diego-based Disability Management Employer Coalition.