Despite having the means to live longer, healthier lives, Generation X is taking them for granted and failing to live up to the predicted lifespan previously set for them.
In a recent study between the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Utah State University and the University of Illinois-Chicago, researchers contend traditional methods used to predict lifespan can lead to inaccurate results suggesting that future death rates could be far worse than currently anticipated.
The researchers found that the current two-dimensional forecasts fall short by basing data drawn solely from the ages of the individuals and the period in which their health and mortality are observed within the population. They acknowledge these measures to be invaluable for comparing health statistics across nations or following trends from past to present, but they overlook the third dimension of time.
Instead, they advocate that a three-dimensional method of forecasting health statistics would be more accurate because it takes into account the delayed effects of the health risks accumulated by today’s younger generations by considering age, period and birth of cohorts. In simple terms, the third dimension would account for the environment one is currently living in and its effects as opposed to relying on the attributes of the deceased who were born and lived under different circumstances.
Generation X refers to those born in the mid 1960s through the late 1970s. This era saw a surge in two-income families, and a rise in divorce rates. They watched their workaholic parents striving to make a living in exchange for being home resulting in a new wave of latch-key kids. They grew up with computers and technology, and reportedly resist and are disinterested in having others tell them what to do.
Gen-Xers may find they want to challenge some of these observations, but it’s difficult to do so simply because they can identify with some of these remarks. Perhaps this is why many are resistant to make lasting changes in their eating and exercising habits. If you learned to eat in front of the TV when you were home alone out of boredom and to pass the time with video games, because it wasn’t safe to play outside, you may still find yourself turning to similar forms of escape now.
With Generation Y and Z at your heels, it’s easy to see the importance of setting an example for healthy lifestyles by recognizing your generation’s tendencies. In addition to making wise food choices and getting regular exercise, consider making some of these adjustments:
Look for productive and healthful ways to spend free time such as reading, writing an email to a friend, or growing an herb/vegetable garden.
Limit your time in front of the television and on the computer — set a timer if you need a reminder.
Avoid eating and snacking in front of the television; become a mindful eater.
If possible, pick the kids up from school on foot and walk home together. Use that time to talk about your day’s activities.
Incorporating some of these and other healthy activities as stepping-stones to new habits can help increase our happiness and longevity for generations to come.