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February 05, 2013 12:00 PM Chart of the Day: The Health of Baby Boomers

By Austin Frakt

According to new work by Dana King and colleagues, baby boomers are less healthy than their parents.

baby boomers sicker

Despite their longer life expectancy over previous generations, US baby boomers have higher rates of chronic disease, more disability, and lower self-rated health than members of the previous generation at the same age. On a positive note, baby boomers are less likely to smoke cigarettes and experience lower rates of emphysema and myocardial infarction than the previous generation.

Update your projection of Medicare costs accordingly.

Limitation: The racial/ethnic profile of the two generations is different, with a higher proportion of non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics in the baby boom generation than the prior one.

[Cross-posted at The Incidental Economist]

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Austin Frakt is a health economist and an assistant professor at Boston University's School of Medicine and School of Public Health. He blogs at The Incidental Economist.
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