Poll: Boomers worry about cancer, should worry about obesity

Staff - suntimes.com - 07/19/2011

Cancer and memory loss are baby boomers’ biggest health fears, according to a new poll, but, given their weight, maybe heart disease and diabetes should be.

Boomers report they are more obese than other generations, according to the Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll, setting them up for unhealthy senior years. Based on calculation of body mass index from self-reported height and weight, roughly a third of the baby boomers polled are obese, compared with about a quarter of those who are older and who are younger. Another 36 percent reported being overweight though not obese.

Most baby boomers say they get some aerobic exercise at least once a week. But most adults are supposed to get two and a half hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Only about a quarter of boomers polled report working up a sweat four or five times a week — what’s usually needed to reach that goal. Worse, 37 percent never do any of the strength training, so crucial to fighting the muscle loss that comes with aging. Walking is their most frequent form of exercise.

About 60 percent of boomers polled say they’re dieting to lose weight. And slightly more are eating more fruits and vegetables or cutting cholesterol and salt.

The AP-LifeGoesStrong.com poll was conducted June 3-12 by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, Calif., and involved online interviews with 1,416 adults, including 1,078 baby boomers — born between 1946 and 1964. The margin of sampling error for results from the full sample is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points; for the boomers, it is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. Knowledge Networks used traditional telephone and mail sampling methods to randomly recruit respondents. People selected who had no Internet access were given it free.

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