Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adult generations of today are less healthy than their counterparts of previous generations

Date:
April 10, 2013
Source:
European Society of Cardiology (ESC)
Summary:
Despite their greater life expectancy, the adults of today are less "metabolically" healthy than their counterparts of previous generations. That's the conclusion of a large cohort study which compared generational shifts in a range of well established metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Assessing the trends, the investigators concluded that "the more recently born generations are doing worse", and warn "that the prevalence of metabolic risk factors and the lifelong exposure to them have increased and probably will continue to increase."

Despite their greater life expectancy, the adults of today are less "metabolically" healthy than their counterparts of previous generations. That's the conclusion of a large cohort study which compared generational shifts in a range of well established metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Credit: Andrei Tsalko / Fotolia

Despite their greater life expectancy, the adults of today are less "metabolically" healthy than their counterparts of previous generations. That's the conclusion of a large cohort study from the Netherlands which compared generational shifts in a range of well established metabolic risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Assessing the trends, the investigators concluded that "the more recently born generations are doing worse," and warn "that the prevalence of metabolic risk factors and the lifelong exposure to them have increased and probably will continue to increase."

Related Articles


The study, reported today in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, analysed data on more than 6,000 individuals in the Doetinchem Cohort Study, which began in 1987-1991 with follow-up examinations after six, 11, and 16 years.(1,2) The principal risk factors measured were body weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol levels (for hypercholesterolaemia) and levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is considered "protective."

The subjects were stratified by sex and generation at baseline into ten-year age groups (20-29, 30-39, 40-49, and 50-59 years); the follow-up analyses aimed to determine whether one generation had a different risk profile from a generation born ten years earlier -- what the investigators called a "generation shift."

Results showed that the prevalence of overweight, obesity, and hypertension increased with age in all generations, but in general the more recently born generations had a higher prevalence of these risk factors than generations born ten years earlier. For example, 40% of the males who were in their 30s at baseline were classified as overweight; 11 years later the prevalence of overweight among the second generation of men in their 30s had increased to 52% (a statistically significant generational shift). In women these unfavourable changes in weight were only evident between the most recently born generations, in which the prevalence of obesity doubled in just 10 years.

Other findings from the study included:

  • Unfavourable (and statistically significant) generation shifts in hypertension in both sexes between every consecutive generation (except for the two most recently born generations of men).
  • Unfavourable generation shifts in diabetes between three of the four generations of men, but not of women.
  • No generation shifts for hypercholesterolaemia, although favourable shifts in HDL cholesterol were only observed between the oldest two generations.

As for the overall picture, and based on the evidence of a "clear" shift in the prevalence of overweight and hypertension, the investigators emphasise that "the more recently born adult generations are doing worse than their predecessors." Evidence to explain the changes is not clear, they add, but note studies reporting an increase in physical inactivity.

What do the findings mean for public health? First author Gerben Hulsegge from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment emphasises the impact of obesity at a younger age. "For example," he explains, "the prevalence of obesity in our youngest generation of men and women at the mean age of 40 is similar to that of our oldest generation at the mean age of 55. This means that this younger generation is '15 years ahead' of the older generation and will be exposed to their obesity for a longer time. So our study firstly highlights the need for a healthy body weight -- by encouraging increased physical activity and balanced diet, particularly among the younger generations.

"The findings also mean that, because the prevalence of smoking in high-income countries is decreasing, we are likely to see a shift in non-communicable disease from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer to obesity-related diseases such as diabetes. This decrease in smoking prevalence and improved quality of health care are now important driving forces behind the greater life expectancy of younger generations, and it's likely that in the near future life expectancy will continue to rise -- but it's also possible that in the more distant future, as a result of our current trends in obesity, the rate of increase in life expectancy may well slow down, although it's difficult to speculate about that."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hulsegge G, Susan H, Picavet J, et al. Today’s adult generations are less healthy than their predecessors: Generation shifts in metabolic risk factors: the Doetinchem Cohort Study. Eur J Prevent Cardiol, 2013 (in press) DOI: 10.1177/2047487313485512

Cite This Page:

European Society of Cardiology (ESC). "Adult generations of today are less healthy than their counterparts of previous generations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410082426.htm>.
European Society of Cardiology (ESC). (2013, April 10). Adult generations of today are less healthy than their counterparts of previous generations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410082426.htm
European Society of Cardiology (ESC). "Adult generations of today are less healthy than their counterparts of previous generations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130410082426.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins