A few days ago a 32-page study was published that describes in detail the myriad ways in which American millennials (hey, my own generation!) Will see a significant decline in the quality of their health and an increase in relative costs [especially for those living in the United States, where healthcare is notoriously a problem], within the next 10 years. The whole text is a delight to read, and the perfect combo with my morning habit of contemplating a cup of black coffee along with the miseries of life.
In the introduction to the document, scholars write that by examining “the millennial health models,” they have discovered “several interesting and worrying elements.” Health institutions and institutions, and previous health studies, the report predicts that millennials will be sicker, poorer and die younger than their predecessors, generation X. In other words, my millennial friends predict the future for themselves for years, without all this sophisticated data, joking that our parents will bury us all. Well … what satisfaction to be right!
The report refers to two potential futures: “a basic projection,” or what we can expect if in some way we can correct the shot quickly and radically; and a far more frightening “adverse projection,” which tells what will happen if we continue to march on the current path of bad luck and destruction. According to the adverse projection, millennials risk an increase in mortality by 40 percent compared to Gen-X at the same age. We (and with “we” mean my sick friends and myself) will also earn much less money a year by having to pay more for medical expenses. All absolutely cool.
In the general economic picture, it seems that millennials are less able to “contribute” to the “labor market.” Since we are expected to be sicker, we are also expected to be less good at doing our job — this because, apparently, sick people are less “productive.”
The juiciest parts concern the potential causes of what these analysts have defined as the “health shock” of millennials, or a phenomenon comparable to the Vietnam war or the HIV / AIDS crisis. According to scholars, the most important generational difference can be limited to problems of “behavioral health,” or things like depression, hyperactivity (ie anxiety, ADD and ADHD) and substance abuse (the latter would also be the source of out-of-necessity expenditure higher, according to another recent study). Between 2014 and 2017, rates of depression and hyperactivity increased by 30 percent among millennials. Compared to Gen-X, millennials between the ages of 30 and 39 are less likely to die for old and trivial reasons such as heart attack and cancer but are much more likely to die of accidental overdose, suicide, and murder.
So, physically speaking, we are actually healthier than our predecessors; but statistically, it doesn’t matter. While we gulp down our Soylent drinks, we split on the CrossFit circuits, take 10,000 steps a day, and escape sugar as a poison, we’re still depressed to death; we keep our troubles at bay with substances that could kill us (and they will); we are constantly in the grip of paralyzing anxiety. Finally, scholars write that paying for these health problems stresses us even more, which only feeds the aforementioned health problems.