Looming Millennial Health Crises

Blue Cross Blue Shield recently completed a study of medical conditions in the millennial population, and found there is a rapid decline in health index score for general populations after the age of 27.

Millennials from ages 34-36 have higher prevalence rates for nearly all of the top 10 conditions than Generation X members within the same age range. This suggests a significant decline in expected health status, far worse than in previous generations. Six of these conditions are behavioral-health related, and four involve physical health. All of them are influenced by lifestyle and diet. Millennials specifically had an increase in major depression, hyperactivity, and type 2 diabetes.

The study also found the millennial generation is shifting towards a vegan or vegetarian diet, with a larger percentage of self-identified vegetarians and vegans than any other generation (12%). The primary reason why individuals converted to a vegan or vegetarian diet was for “general wellness or general disease prevention” (75%), according to the study. There is currently a cultural and economic push for a more vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Sales of plant-based alternatives to animal-based foods, including meat, cheese, milk, and eggs, grew 17% over the past year, while overall U.S. food sales rose only 2%.

My concerns and questions are: Could the increase in veganism be associated with an increase in the prevalence of these medical conditions? Could medical conditions be pushing millennials to experiment with a vegan lifestyle, seeking relief from a predisposing cause? Are we repeating the errors of Ancel Keys?

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