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Baby Bomers Will See Disabilities At Earlier Age From Excess Weight

Posted Nov 13 2009 12:00am

In an attempt to determine the effect of the baby boom generation on the U.S. healthcare system as they age, a research team looked at the health of Americans versus past generations.  The recent UCLA study has found that there were more disabilities among 60-69 year olds in the U.S. for 1988 through 1999 compared with any other point in history. Disability trends were assessed in four areas: basic activities associated with daily living, such as walking from room to room and getting into and out of bed; instrumental activities, such as performing household chores or preparing meals; mobility, including walking one-quarter mile or climbing ten steps without stopping for rest; and functional limitations, which include stooping, crouching or kneeling. The rate of disability increased between 40 and 70%. The rise in disability was considerably higher among non-white and overweight subgroups. Experts suggest the trend may be from the fact that these people have longer histories of being overweight and that is taking its toll on their health and their bodies. The concern is even though great technological advances are being made over the years, health is declining. The results of the study hold “significant and sobering implications” for health care. They suggest that with the obesity epidemic, those now entering their 60’s could have even more disabilities, putting an added burden on an already fragile system and boosting health costs for society as a whole.

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