In the Journals

Generation X developed obesity, diabetes sooner than baby boomers

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April 3, 2014

Individuals in the group known as Generation X were shown to be more likely to develop obesity and diabetes sooner than the generation born before them, according to new research.

Researchers studied data collected from 1989 to 1990 through Australia’s National Health Survey on individuals born between 1946 and 1965 and compared cohorts from a study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted between 2001 and 2008.

Looking at the men from Generation X, 2.8% were diagnosed with diabetes vs. 1% (P=.001) of baby boomers, and 18.3% were classified as obese vs. 9.4% (P<.001) of boomers. Generation X males were slightly more likely to be employed (92% vs. 89.7%, P=.024), less likely to smoke (36.3% vs. 30.4%; P<.001) but were more likely to have lower levels of activity (36.6% vs. 31.6%; P=.002).

In the Generation X women studied, 21.8% were overweight vs. 17.6% of baby boomers, and 7.7% were reported to have diabetes vs. 2.9% of boomers. Women from Generation X were also less likely to smoke, more likely to work (75.2% vs. 65.7%; P=.002), and more likely to have a bachelor’s degree (30% vs. 10.6%; P=.001) than women from the baby boomer generation. No difference was shown in activity levels.

“Generation X appears to have developed both obesity and diabetes much sooner when compared with baby boomers, which is a major concern on a number of fronts,” Rhiannon Pilkington, PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide, said in a press release.

Disclosure: The researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.