With a reputation rooted in driving the market trends of boutique fitness classes, green juices, and wellness apps, it’s safe to say the millennial identity is fundamentally intertwined with that of health and wellness pursuits. It’s this nearly synonymous association with all things wellness that makes research citing current millennial health to be in a worse spot when compared with the health that elders in Generation X were at the same age all the more surprising.
But that’s not all of the findings contributing to a whiplash of the way we think about millennial health and wellness: A study done by Blue Cross Blue Shield found that millennial health begins to decline, on average, by age 27. What’s more, another study found 44% of older millennials have reported being diagnosed with at least one chronic health condition. But before we talk about what we can do about it, it’s important to look into how we got here in the first place.
Despite 28% of millennials saying health care and disease prevention was their top concern, the way they’re showing up tells a different story. Similarly, 43% of millennials said they’d been ignoring a health issue or putting off addressing a health issue. Unfortunately, the Catch-22 of ignoring disruptive symptoms in the present to avoid disruption often ends up creating more of a problem later on.
While concern around the COVID-19 pandemic didn't exactly help matters, it’s worth noting that this trend — and research around the matter — is one that’s been observed before the pandemic’s effects on the healthcare system took place. One of the biggest takeaways from studies is that 68% of millennials have a primary care physician when compared to 91% percent of those in Generation X. This gap means a more limited opportunity for early diagnosis and shows that this age group tends to see preventive care efforts as less of a priority.
Other factors contributing to the decline of millennial health at a particularly early onset age when compared to previous generations are driven by the higher impact of physical conditions — more specifically conditions driven by increased cardiovascular and endocrine conditions, which includes diabetes. Additionally, 60% of conditions impacting millennials include some component of behavioral health (major depression, psychotic disorders, substance use disorder, etc) and millenial women are 20% percent less healthy than their male counterparts, with factors like major depression, type II diabetes, and endocrine conditions often contributing to the disparity.
With all that said, you may be wondering what you can do to get ahead of your health and wellness. The good news? The first step is as simple as making a shift of focus in taking a more proactive approach to your health and wellness needs. It’s helpful to think of it as taking on a more “offense” mindset rather than a reactive “defense” one. This can look like investing in preventive care measures, staying on top of routine appointments, and being a more active participant in your own well-being. By taking these actions, the lens in which you can tackle health issues as they come up becomes wider and should feel more manageable.
Seeing as though millennials now make up the largest generation, it’s even more critical that this shift in proactive healthcare takes place. That’s why we want to do our part to empower you to engage with your health and wellness and give you the tools to easily do so. Whether you’re putting off a disruptive symptom or ignoring it all together for the sake of time or energy, the fact of the matter is that putting symptoms on the back burner only causes more disruption when they can no longer be ignored.
By offering more than 30 at-home lab tests ranging from Thyroid to Cholesterol and a Lyme Disease Test, we want to put you in the driver’s seat of your own health and wellness journey. As with all Everlywell tests, your results can be shared with your physician or medical professional to further support your health and wellness needs.
While the findings about millennial health trends may feel a bit alarming, it’s important to remember you know your health and wellness needs better than anyone else. And you can rest assured knowing we’ll be here to support your efforts in shifting to a more proactive approach along the way.