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No Matter Your Age, It’s Time To Engage

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Jillian Washington
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum

Millennials. Generation Y. Generation Z. Society has crafted many labels to identify today’s young adult population, and with each title comes a conception about young adults that, comparatively, seems to ring true: When it comes to health and health care, many young people fail to take an interest.

A 2010 survey by the American Stroke Association polled more than 1,200 adults and found that 43 percent of those ages 18-24 were not concerned about their cardiovascular health. This is in spite of the fact that many of those surveyed admitted to engaging in unhealthy behaviors - eating fast food and consuming sugary beverages and alcohol, for example - that could lead to heart health issues later in life.

Interestingly, the 18-24 year old segment reported the highest rates of engaging in physical activity. This finding reflects the latest shift in American culture toward healthier living. In the last five years, trends such as CrossFit, juicing and wearable fitness trackers have increased in popularity, but not necessarily among younger demographics.

It is plausible to presume that while some millennials have an unwavering commitment to healthy living, others have an on-again, off-again relationship with positive healthy behaviors. This may be explained by the fact that most 20-somethings are primarily focused on finishing college, establishing their careers and securing their financial independence from mom and dad.

For them, an all-or-nothing approach to health may not work. But there is certainly room for improvement, and this issue is one that Your Health in Your Hands seeks to address. Encouraging Louisianans – regardless of age - to get engaged in their health is a primary focus of the campaign and is one that the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum values as a key factor in improving health and health outcomes for residents across the state.

There are numerous ways to “get engaged” in your health that don’t involve investing in a gym membership or even require a great deal of time. You can take a brisk walk during your lunch break, plant a garden in your backyard, practice meditation or simply make routine visits to your physician and keep track of your test results and health information through your patient portal.

The goal is to make an effort.

It is important to recognize that there is no ideal path to achieving better health, but the journey itself begins with that proverbial first step. Remember, small changes today can generate lasting benefits in the future. So millennials, it’s time to shift focus and make your health a priority.
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Guest Monday, 20 May 2019