They're known as the baby boomers, folks who are now in their late 40's to 60's. And in some important ways they are healthier than people two decades ago who were in the same age bracket. They're less likely to smoke, have emphysema or get heart attacks. But in lots of other ways the picture's not that great.
"Diabetes being higher in the baby boomer generation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, there's also an increased risk for early heart disease in people who are overweight," explained Dr. Mark Keder at St. Luke's University Hospital.
The findings were recently published in a medical journal. According to the study, two times the percentage of baby boomers, as compared with the previous generation, need a cane or a walker to get around. Even more have problems so bad that they can't work.
"Many more people in the baby boomer generation are overweight or obese."
Dr. Keder says the biggest difference is the lifestyles between these two generations. They really grew up in completely different worlds.
"13% of baby boomers considered themselves in excellent health at middle age, where as 32% of people in the pre-baby boomer generation consider themselves healthy at middle age," shared Keder.
Despite all this, baby boomers are living longer than their parents. They're just having health problems along the way.
"The most important thing to do is exercise regularly, jobs, schedules, information technology get in the way of doing that," said Keder. "It's hard and you have to make it a project to do that, but the more active you are the better you'll do."