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Aetna health survey points to generational differences

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Results from a new study reveal that American adults of all ages–Millennials, GenXers and Baby Boomers–believe their own generation is the healthiest.

Published by Aetna Inc., Hartford, Conn., the report reveals that nearly half the people surveye (45 percent) name their own generation as the healthiest, followed by their parents’ generation (32 percent) and the younger generation (23 percent).

The findings come from Aetna’s “What’s your Healthy?” study, a survey of 1,800 Americans ages 25-64 conducted online recently by Harris Interactive. The research is a part of Aetna’s “what’s your healthy?” national marketing and advertising campaign.

“We are committed to improving the health and well-being for all generations, and these insights are valuable as we build new tools and resources to help individuals and families achieve their unique health goals.”

Other generational differences include:

•   Almost twice as many Baby Boomers (23 percent) between the ages of 49 and 64 define being healthy as getting recommended screenings or checkups, compared to both GenXers (ages 37-48) and Millennials (ages 25-36). A much higher percentage of Millennials define being healthy as having good eating habits (24 percent) and regular physical activity (22 percent), compared with the older generations.

•   Thirty-seven percent of Millennials say they often are more likely than other age groups to reach for alcohol when stressed. Both GenXers and Millennials also tend to snack on unhealthy food when dealing with stress (48 percent and 51 percent, respectively) more frequently than Baby Boomers.

• While about one-third of Millennials and GenXers want to look good in their underwear (35 percent and 32 percent, respectively), only 19 percent of Boomers consider this important. More than half of boomers (53 percent) would tell their younger selves not to “sweat the small stuff,” a higher rate than both GenXers (43 percent) and Millennials (36 percent).

Across the generations, Americans give themselves high marks on health status considering their age, with an average score of 70.1 on a 0-100 scale, the survey shows. About a third of people (34 percent) say they’re living healthier today than five years ago.

People who are living healthier today cite such factors as choosing “side salads instead of French fries” (47 percent of those living healthier today); reducing alcohol consumption (37 percent); and adding tougher workouts (34 percent) as ways they are leading healthier lives.


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