Why Millennials are More Unhealthy Compared to Generation X?

Millennial Health Issues

Why Millennials are More Unhealthy Compared to Generation X?

One-Third of millennials are at the risk of having a chronic physical condition.

Findings based on a study of older millennials between the ages of 34 and 36:

  • Overall health may begin to decline at 27.
  • The rate of increase in behavioral conditions is rising by double digits among millennials.
  • Millennials are more likely to have a diagnosis for 8 of the 10 health conditions as compared to generation X.
  • Cardiovascular, endocrine conditions, and diabetes among the most common physical disorders.
  • Millennial women are 20% less healthy than males due to more cases of type II diabetes, depression, and endocrine conditions.
  • Millennials in southern American states are among the least healthy.

More recent studies raise even greater concern for Millennial Health Issues

Millennials with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Face Bigger Health Challenges

They are likely to be 46% less healthy than someone without the opioid use disorder.

What Was Found?

  • Adverse health effects have increased by 3 to 6 times.
  • The mental health issue is one of the prominent problems among these millennials.
  • Bipolar cases have increased almost by 9 times.

According to stats, geriatric millennials have at least one chronic disease!

Migraines, asthma, and depression are the most common ailments among millennials born between 1981 and 1988.

Millennials have probably gone through a drastic lifestyle change than their previous generations. Their physical and mental health is at stake, probably due to some of these changes.

More focused studies are coming out showcasing somewhat identical worrisome millennial health statistics. And it isn’t about a single persisting health condition but the increase in the possibility of further issues. 

Over time, we perceive it’s likely to get serious. So, what is wrong with millennials?

A study by BCBS throws light on the problems faced by this generation.  


Why Millennials are Surprisingly Unhealthy | The Study

Diverse health challenges have impacted the quality and lifespan of millennials, according to the study.

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), in their recent study, came up with concerning millennial health statistics

This indicated increasingly poorer physical health and an equally grave impact on mental health.

According to the BCBS, in 2017, the average health index was 95.1. Simply, the millennials were living on 95% of their optimal health.

Further, older millennials, aged 34-36 years, have a greater prevalence rate for top 10 health conditions compared to the same age group of generation X.

What does this mean?

The younger generation encounters health problems at a younger age than the previous generation. 

Females are more affected by adverse health conditions including type II diabetes, depression, and endocrine conditions.

Woman millennial health

This shows how Millennial Health Issues need serious attention for improving this generation’s prospects of a longer lifespan. 

#1. Substance Use Disorder

Millennials with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) diagnosis are 46% less unhealthy. 

This is because substance use disorders have increased over the years. 

With that, ER visits have also increased.

On the contrary IP stays have surged with a frequency of 6 times. The data demonstrates the effects per 100 people, from a 2018 study prevalent to this day. 

The data shows the growth in comparison to the previous generation when they were in the same age group. 

Certainly, such an increment is a concern for longtime health and wellness reasons.

#2. Pain Related Conditions

There is a significant jump in pain-related conditions among millennials with OUD. 

Well, pain is common as age hampers the different body processes. However, this has been naturally higher in this particular group of youngsters.

The incidence of pain-related injuries is 3 times higher. There is about a 2x increment in musculoskeletal pain as well.  

One major reason for the poor millennial health and wellness trends could be social isolation due to better exposure to digital media.

#3. Behavioral Health Conditions

Behavioral Health Conditions or, as we call it, mental health is getting worse over time in the new generation of humans. 

The gen z anxiety statistics as well as the new generation z depression statistics is even more worrisome.

Behavioral Health Conditions

Let’s get into a bit more detail…

  • There’s a 39%  jump in the cases of ADHD from 2014-2018 alone.
  • Tobacco use disorder, major depression, and psychotic disorders are also common.
  • 43% jump in major depression cases over 4 years.
  • There are almost 4.5 times higher chances of severe depression among millennials with OUD that can lead to suicide attempts. Though, it doesn’t include minor depression cases.
  • There are shockingly 8 times better chances of encountering Schizophrenia among those diagnosed with OUD.

Undoubtedly, millennial mental health issues are serious. 

The graph is only going higher without dips. It isn’t the bad impact of the lifestyle, but also the seclusion it has put us into.

Rather than relying on real people, we tend to put more focus on AI’s like Alexa, Google, etc., to get solutions. 

This has made loneliness slip deep into the veins of society as generation z depression statistics reveal even more concerning data.

#4. Cardiovascular Health Conditions

Cholesterol and blood sugar levels are major problems with millennials. 

Of course, that could be due to more amenities available for eating out. 

But overdo this, and it will affect your heart health in the long run.

The data clearly demonstrates how millennials are most affected by it. Cardiac health is at stake here. 

They have almost 3 times more risk of developing coronary artery disease.

Stress is also a culprit. 

The 9 to 5 job allows for the least physical activity and drains you enough to not be able to perform any exercise. Henceforth, degrading the overall health.

Also, the lack of leisure time to cook increases the reliance on packed unhealthy food items. 

Moreover, it is people themselves as well as their choice of comfort over extra strain of cooking homemade meals.

All these factors are likely to contribute to the disturbing rise in Millennial Health Issues.


More Millennials Are Choosing to Cut Corners on Their Health

Millennials aren’t as serious about health as the older generation. Thus, it is impacting their longtime health and well-being.

Alarming Findings:

  • A new survey revealed many millennials don’t prioritize long-term health and wellness.
  • Gen Y is less healthy than the generations before them when in the same age group.
  • Word of mouth, articles, blogs, and Instagram influencers greatly influence fitness choices.

The research by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) suggests millennials aren’t fond of prioritizing their health.

Only 68 percent of millennials seek preventative care from a primary care physician as compared to 91 percent of Generation X.

Preventative care

The Biggest Concern

Millennials are over-reliant on unreliable health advice of unverified articles and blogs, so-called health expert Instagram influencers, and even on word of mouth. 

The following factors have maximum influence on generation Y in the matters of decision-making.

#1. Word of Mouth: 93 Percent

If your sister says it’s the best fitness center, it is and it will be forever. No other opinion matters. No word left. 

For millennials, it’s the word of mouth that works the most. 

Surprisingly, it isn’t restricted to the coffee tables at the café but extends to Facebook walls, Twitter handle, and Instagram posts for obvious reasons. 

If some influencer says it is going to work, many millennials would likely jump at the opportunity.

#2. Articles and Blogs: 74 Percent

Millennials love Google. 

Ok Google, what’s the best way to lose weight?” An article by XYZ blog says you should do this and that. 

Obviously, it would be better to rely on verified and reliable sites like many on the internet for your preliminary research.

Otherwise, your doctor likely knows better and can offer advice fine-tuned to your concerns.

#3. Instagram Influencers: 72 Percent

The first and last thing millennials do before hitting the sack and leaving it is to swipe up and down their Instagram. 

They usually trust some Instagram health experts, some of them having no reliable health expertise. Or a page with a fitness mantra and quotes making you jump out of bed to the treadmill in the death of the night.

In reality, very few of them can actually help you out in the real sense of the word.


Influencers are relied on because they have thousands of followers. Most will feel like they can resonate with them automatically.

Now, not all of this advice is ill-intentioned.

However, this social media fun and entertainment have gone too far to affect your health in the long run.

The above data raises concerns given the reliance of millennials on unverified sources. Another reason behind the increasing millennial health issues!

The study clearly demonstrates how millennials’ health-consciousness is compromised by digital sources. Alternatively, it is a sort of pseudo-health-consciousness.

Even if you want to catch up with any millennial healthcare trends, consult with a doctor before taking drastic measures.


Millennials Health and Wellness Trends – The Bright Side

The health-conscious millennials’ trends are more than innovation, exclusiveness, or shock. 

The theme of these trends focuses more on food transparency, convenience, and self-care opportunities.

Healthy eating

#1. Gen Y Wants Food Transparency

The good thing is millennials are interested in everything that’s on their plate.

This naturally includes the source of the ingredients present in their meal. 

In fact, it is of the high regard in terms of meat and seafood products with those who care about animal welfare standards.

The popularity of organic veggies isn’t a new thing. 

But millennials have a maximum contribution for setting it as a new millennial health trend.

#2. Millennials Seek Eco-Friendly Options

Gen Y stress on reducing carbon footprints while sustaining their hunger. 

Well, the eco-friendly effort goes in for diet and food sources as well. 

This expands the possibilities for organic foods free of GMOs and better plant-based options.

#3. Generation Y Values Convenience Which Equals Innovation

The advancing technology has made things quite easier. 

The convenient workout apps and meal delivery services are evolving continuously. 

Moreover, millennials show extreme interest in healthy eating and an exclusive diet. 

They willingly pay extra for a healthy meal with high-quality ingredients.

#4. Millennials Believe in Self-Care

Self-care was always there. 

However, the major promoters are the millennials. They have expanded it to a whole new dimension.

Gen Y is committed to physical and mental health. They make greater expenses on self-care strategies than their previous generations.

#5. Gen Y Socially Shares Their Picture-Perfect Experiences

This generation is the most digitally connected. Everyone loves all the internet things. 

Whether it’s smiling for a picture, sharing experience through a camera lens, or jotting thoughts on Facebook, most millennials love it.

And their healthy fitness meals should be picture perfect for making way to the Instagram story. What is bad about getting a few more hits with health benefits?

In spite of the downsides associated with digital exposure, Gen Y and Gen Z health trends are likely also amazing due to it. 

They haven’t just made their life healthier, but also have constructed a whole new fitness industry. 

This is expected to help the next generation and generations to come…


Top 10 Millennial Health Issues

Are millennials unhealthy? 

The first study discussed clearly demonstrates how worse it can get. 

Despite being addressed as the “Wellness Generation,” the health of millennials is at a questionable stake.

The same report by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has identified the top 10 leading health conditions affecting generations.

Major Millennial Health Issues Include:

  1. Depression
  2. Substance use disorder
  3. Alcohol use disorder
  4. Hypertension
  5. Hyperactivity
  6. Psychotic conditions
  7. Crohn’s disease/Ulcerative colitis
  8. High cholesterol
  9. Tobacco use disorder
  10. Type 2 diabetes

The data doesn’t stop at this point. If you closely go through and analyze the stats, you get other shocking revelations.

What are the Millennial Problems?

  • Behavioral health conditions affect millennial health more than the national population.
  • Prevalence rates for approximately all 10 ailments augmented from 2014 to 2018.
  • Hyperactivity, major depression, and type 2 diabetes had the most growth throughout the duration.
  • The major decline in wellbeing and health starts at just age 27.
  • Members of Gen Y are less healthy than Gen Xers were at the same age.



Here are some most common queries answered! 

Q1: What is the life expectancy of a millennial?

Just 30% of gen Y is likely to live to 85-100 years old in comparison to 43% of baby boomers. 

The average lifespan is around 81. Meanwhile, baby boomers expect to live at least 4 years more on average as compared to millennials.

Q2: Are millennials health conscious?

Gen Y is more proactive and health-conscious compared to their grandparents and parents. 

Comparatively, they spend more on fitness, self-care, and a healthy diet. 

Healthcare is becoming expensive over time. So, they have built a habit of researching before and then spending money.

Q3: How much do millennials spend on health?

Millennials have an earning shortfall than their older generations. 

Still, for their health, they have a nice budget and spend rather more on wellness, notably nutrition and fitness. 

Combined, Gen Y and their Gen Z successors spend over $158 billion on health and wellness.

Q4: Do millennials have health insurance?

16% of millennials are expected to be uninsured. 

Comparatively, older generations like gen X were at 12%, and 8% of boomers were more likely to be uninsured. 

This trend has been increasing since 2016. 

More than the old gens, uninsured millennials comment on lack of time to acquire coverage.

Q5: Are millennials into fitness?

Whether it is professionally, politically, or socially, the millennial lifestyle focuses on creating a difference at every level. 

They completely decline to accept things as they have always been. 

They concentrate on finding solutions and going the extra mile for fitness. Still, millennials’ health statistics continue to be worrying.

Q6: How often do millennials eat out?

A survey found that 54 percent of younger millennials eat out three times a week. 

Moreover, 30% buy coffee, 51% go to a bar once a week. 

On average, gen Y tends to eat out five times in a single week.


The Bottom Line

Millennials tend to showcase themselves as tech-savvy and fitness freaks. However, the study by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) shatters the popular image.

It shows how they are affected by various ailments. This doesn’t only include physical health but behavioral health as well.

In fact, the mental health of millennials is most affected. Cases of bipolar are at their peak. Also, cardiac health is declining to a worrisome state.

It’s high time to get serious to tackle the major Millennial health issues.

Self-care, healthy eating, and exercise will likely go a long way in decreasing your overall risk.



Millennials are Less Healthy than Generation X Were at the Same Age: Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, April 24, 2019


Millennial Health: Trends in Behavioral Health Conditions

Horizon Clinics

At Horizon Clinics, we help you decode the solutions to your micro-health battles. Our in-depth and practical guides cover everything from diet plans, weight loss, workouts, and bodybuilding to issues of mental health.

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