NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans”, which highlights the fact that too many Americans are not adopting preventive care and lifestyle changes due to perceived high cost. Download it HERE!
As people age, the need for a greater focus on personal health increases, and priorities change. And though starting early and maintaining a healthy lifestyle from a young age is the easiest method to begin a preventive path, many are unaware of this approach. Some members of younger generations say “I’ll deal with it when it comes up,” or “That could never happen to me.”
In the era of new media and the greatest technological advances history has seen, the younger generations are quickly becoming sucked into a sedentary lifestyle and attitude. Physical activity has slowed at an alarming rate, tripling child obesity rates among adolescents in the last 30 years, according to the CDC. For some teens and young adults, online chatting, shopping, gaming, and mobile usage is leading to ideologies of immobility and lower rates of physical activity and interaction. All of this combined can lead to an unhealthy road ahead.
Lack of Awareness Leads to Lack of Precautions
While research suggests a lack of prevention awareness among teens and young adults, Generation Y (ages 25–34), Generation X (ages 35–44) and Baby Boomers (ages 45–54) are, by no means, taking necessary precautions for their own health. Almost 95 percent of all three age groups agree that preventive care is important, yet a very small percentage of each group gave themselves an A grade for their efforts to ensure a preventive lifestyle — only 15 percent of Gen Y, 18 percent of Gen X, and 32 percent of Baby Boomers.
A Call for Change: How Adopting a Preventive Lifestyle Can Ensure a Healthy Future for More Americans did find that roughly 50 percent of each generation reported that in the past two years they’ve tried to exercise routinely, or at least three times a week, but it’s not enough. Many are failing to undergo screenings or discuss medical history with their doctors. According to A Call for Change, only 22 percent of Baby Boomers have had some type of cancer screening. Less than half of both Gen X and Baby Boomers have undergone a cholesterol screening, and less than 40 percent of all generations have discussed their medical history and risk factors with their doctors. A Call for Change also uncovered the shocking fact that in the past two years, only 33 percent of Baby Boomer women have received a mammogram and only 24 percent of Boomer men have received a prostate exam.
Is More Education Needed?
A major reason for the low screening numbers is the fact that many Americans still don’t know what is covered by their insurance plans. Only 35 percent of both Gen X and Gen Y, and 26 percent of Baby Boomers reported an understanding on what their policies cover. And roughly 80 percent of all age groups (Boomers at 70 percent) agreed that out-of-pocket-cost is the primary reason they decide whether or not to take preventive care measures. With the Affordable Care Act mandating coverage of many preventive care benefits at no cost to the insured, it is imperative that health plans and providers educate patients about these benefits.
A lack of knowledge and general prevention education is leaving many adults at every age to battle sickness. Twenty-five percent of Gen Y, 44 percent of Gen X and 64 percent of Baby Boomers all admitted they are currently treating a disease or chronic illness, such as high blood pressure, a heart problem, diabetes or cancer. The sad thing is that many of these conditions can be prevented.