New research from the University of Adelaide shows that Australia’s Generation X is already on the path to becoming more obese than their baby boomer predecessors.
Studies show that boomers currently have the highest level of obesity of any age group in Australia.
However, new research by University of Adelaide PhD student Rhiannon Pilkington has revealed some alarming statistics. As part of her research, she has compared obesity levels between the two generations at equivalent ages.
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Using data from the National Health Survey, Ms Pilkington compared Generation X in 2008 to boomers at the same age, in 1989.
“This comparison paints a very poor picture of Generation X. It gives rise to major concerns for the future health of Gen X and Australia’s ability to cope with that burden,” says Ms. Pilkington, who is conducting her research in the University’s School of Medicine.
“At the same age, Gen X males have nearly double the prevalence of obesity: 18.3% compared with 9.4% for boomers. There is a smaller but still significant difference in females, with 12.7% of Gen X women being obese in 2008 and 10.4% of boomer females obese in 1989.”
“This does not bode well for the future health of Generation X,” she adds.
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Ms Pilkington’s PhD research covers the health status and health behaviors of Gen X and baby boomers, and the major role the workplace has to play in their health.
“We have a window of opportunity to change the health path that many boomers and Gen Xers are currently on,” Ms Pilkington says.
Ms Pilkington’s study considers various factors that influence the risk of being overweight or obese, such as: work stress, type of occupation and generation.
“Job strain occurs when people experience high demands and low control in their jobs. My research has shown that females are more likely to experience this type of work stress, and Gen X has a significantly higher risk. This is a concern given the known association between high job strain, coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity and type 2 diabetes,” she says.