Baby boomers are overweight, unhealthy and could become a huge drain on the health system, new research suggests.
A report released today by Adelaide University researchers says new strategies are urgently needed to reduce obesity among baby boomers in the workforce.
It says if they don’t lose the weight, workforce productivity will drop and health costs for future generations to care for them will skyrocket.
The report estimates that expenses relating to diabetes alone will quadruple in just ten years.
Professor Graeme Hugo from the University of Adelaide said baby boomers have the highest levels of obesity of any age group in the country.
“If baby boomers want to delay their retirement plans and remain active in the workforce and the community, it is imperative we develop effective strategies to reduce obesity and related chronic conditions,” Professor Hugo said.
“Baby boomers are a tremendous social resource for Australia.
“Their contribution to volunteering in this country is significant and they have a lifetime of accumulated skill and experience to pass on, with 64 per cent intending to work 16 hours or more per week in retirement.
“However, if we are to harness this potential we need to stem the tide of obesity and improve their health while we can.”
Other preliminary findings from the project show that obesity rates among baby boomers are more than double that of their parents at the same age.
It also indicates that they have twice the rate of asthma and hearing loss; triple the rate of diabetes and almost double the cholesterol levels of their parents in the 53-62yo age group.
The research also shows that the proportion of baby boomers with three or more chronic conditions is 700 per cent greater than the previous generation.
And the news only gets worse.
The report says that social indicators suggest baby boomers will also have less support, more will enter their later life without a spouse, a greater percentage will live alone, fewer will own their own home and more will rent.
Recommendations from the study are to be handed down next year.