Millennials became the largest generation in the American workforce in 2015. They make up about 53.5 million people.

One major difference in how millennials view health in comparison to other generations is that, for millennials, health is about an entire lifestyle focused on nutrition, exercise, and general well-being. Despite this shift in their view of health, many millennials struggle more with stress, understanding how to manage their health and well-being, and making unhealthy choices.

What are the top health concerns for millennials and what can you do about them?

Mental Health

Mental health has been brought to the spotlight with millennials because they want the issues addressed. The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that 12% of millennials have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, and 19% have been diagnosed with depression.

2013 Gallup report found that workers with depression miss 8.7 days of work per year, which is double the amount missed by employees without depression. However, presenteeism (showing up for work, but lacking in productivity) is a greater concern, with 70% of millennials listing it as an issue related to their depression or anxiety.2

Obesity

Obesity affects one-third of the millennial population, thanks in part to sedentary lifestyles and a need for instant gratification.3 This puts young workers at a higher risk for breathing problems, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.

With an on-the-go lifestyle, this younger generation tends to grab a quick snack or fast food rather than a regularly-scheduled, nutritious meal. They also often rely on caffeine over a good night’s sleep. More than 58% of millennials say they eat junk food several times a week, and 50% report drinking soda regularly. On top of that, 44% don’t exercise on a regular basis and 17% frequently smoke cigarettes.4

 

Health Care Options

While only 11% of millennials are now uninsured, health insurance continues to be a costly and confusing struggle for millennials. Some might be insured under their parents’ plan until they’re 26 years old, some might be unaware of need for insurance, and most, 1 in 5 millennials, are unable to afford health insurance.

 

Less than a third of millennials report feeling well-informed about their health care options.

Alcohol

Millennials have turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism, often to self-medicate mental illness or manage stress. 50% of millennial alcoholics use alcohol to manage their mental disorder, while 25% of millennials with financial stress use alcohol as a stress reliever.5

 

Over time, alcoholism can cause depression, irritability, low energy, and a weakened immune system.

What Can You Do About It?

Eat Healthy

Plan meals for the week to eliminate drive through stops for a quick meal. Cooking meals out for the week not only will save time but it will also save money, boost the immune system, help with weight management, and more.

Exercise

Find an activity that you enjoy that gets you up and moving. This can be joining a sports league, walking, cycling, or something else. Join a gym and connect with a physical therapist or personal trainer to help you navigate the gym and build a personalized fitness program to help you reach your goals. I also recommend having an accountability partner, this makes it less likely for you to slack off if someone else is counting on you.

Rest and Stress Management

First of all, be sure you’re getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep every single night. Not just 7-9 hours of sleep for the week! Sleep is your body’s chance to recover but it’s also your brain’s chance to clear all the stress and toxins. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and less likely to have to count on caffeine to jump start your day.

Find a way to manage your stress. There are stresses in life for everyone but how you manage the stress is key to your personal success. Starting a routine that includes silent meditation, gratitude journaling, and time to allow your creative mind to wander. Step away from social media for a specified time, get off the computer, off your iPad, and off your phone. Get out in nature and breathe and listen to the sounds of the wind. Taking this time to detach yourself temporarily from your life stresses allows your body to reset.

Informed Self Care

Connect yourself with a medical professional that you trust and can openly ask questions. This can be me or someone else you know. This person will help to become your guide, your mentor, and your support as you explore ways you can manage your health and self care naturally.

I am excited to help you on your journey!

Have an Abundantly Healthy day, and, until next time …

Be Well,

Dr. Cori Campbell, Physical Therapist, Wellness Advocate

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any illness or disease. It’s strictly for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes only. The products I talk about are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat, or cure any illness or disease. Any information I give you about them is for informational or entertainment purposes only. They have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA. Please seek the qualified health professional of your choice when making health decisions for yourself, your family, and your pets.

 

Resources
(1) http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/05/11/millennials-surpass-gen-xers-as-the-largest-generation-in-u-s-labor-force/
(2) http://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/millennials-depression-is-affecting-everyone-at-work.html/?a=viewall
(3) http://www.empowher.com/wellness/content/6-common-health-concerns-millennials
(4) http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100201006251/en/U.S.-Millennials-Healthy-Bad-Habits-Lead-Chronic#.VSSBSZTF9AF
(5) http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24772/the-scary-truth-about-millennials-and-alcohol-abuse.html

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