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Are Millennials at Risk for More Health Problems?

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Millennials are defined as those that were born between 1981 and 1996, and there are currently 73 million millennials living in the United States. A recent study by Blue Cross Blue Shield shows that most consider themselves in good or excellent health. However, according to the study, older millennials (age 34-36) have greater prevalence rates for certain health conditions compared to members of Generation X (born between 1961-1981) when they were at a similar age range.

The top health conditions affecting millennials are:

  • Mental health issues
  • Substance use disorder
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Hypertension
  • Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • High cholesterol
  • Tobacco use disorder
  • Type II diabetes

Between 2014 and 2017, the prevalence rate among millennials age 34-36 for all conditions continued to increase, with the largest growth occurring in mental health issues and type II diabetes.

What could be the cause of the increase in mental health issues?

With a spike in mental health issues among millennials, many are to wonder, “what is the cause?” There are many factors that can contribute to mental health disorders, but one major issue millennials are facing is technology and media overload. There are many benefits that come with technology, but one downside is constantly being aware of what others are doing and what is happening in the world. With this awareness, many millennials have feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Another rising issue is lack of defined work schedules. Many millennials appreciate a career where they can set their own schedule. However, because of the non-set schedule, many find themselves working longer hours on weekends and on their time off. As a result, they do not have time to reset and decompress.

How to combat these issues:

Blue Cross Blue Shield found that millennials are not seeking preventative care. One in three millennials do not have a primary care doctor. They are usually only visiting a doctor when they are sick, or something is broken. In order to combat these issues, millennials need to be more proactive about receiving preventative care. Schedule an appointment with a primary care doctor or a therapist if you notice a change in your mental health or habits. Prioritize your mental health and talk openly with those you trust. If you do not have a primary care doctor, get one. Having a regular primary care doctor will make you treatment more effective when your concerns are brought to them early on.

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