OK, millennials, you might want to put down your avocado toast in order to digest some startling news. According to new research, people who were born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s are expected to be the most obese generation, according estimates by Cancer Research UK. And this translates to a significant increase in cancer risk. Not good.
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Current trends show a whopping 70 percent of millennials will be overweight or obese between the ages of 35 and 40. To put this in perspective, only about 50 percent of baby boomers born between 1945 and 1955 were overweight during their 30 and 40s.
Even more worrisome? Researchers also found that most millennials — 85 percent to be exact — don’t understand that obesity is linked to as many as 800,000 cases of cancer, including breast, bowel and kidney. So just 15 percent of millennials are in the know. Scary, right?
“If more people become aware of the link it may help spare not just millennials, but all generations from cancer,” explains Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of prevention.
Previous research seems to explain this startling phenomenon. A 2017 study conducted by Bankrate found that U.S. millennials eat at restaurants or get takeout nearly five times a week — compared to just 3.4 times a week for Gen Xers and 2.5 for boomers. The company also determined they spend significantly more on groceries and food in general.
In addition to the obvious financial repercussions of eating out so much, government research has found a link between dining out and weight gain. On average, people consume 200 more calories eating in restaurants than they do at home. That adds up!
Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, suggests that factors like “clever marketing tactics” employed by the food industry paired with unhealthy food being more easily accessible are to blame for the projected rise in obesity.
“Extra body fat doesn’t just sit there; it sends messages around the body that can cause damage to cells. This damage can build up over time and increase the risk of cancer in the same way that damage from smoking causes cancer,” she explained.
“While these estimates sound bleak, we can stop them becoming a reality. Millennials are known for following seemingly healthy food trends, but nothing beats a balanced diet. Eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and other fiber-filled foods like whole grains and cutting down on junk food is the best way to keep a healthy weight.”
Basically, if you want to make sure you don’t become a statistic, it’s important to make smart dietary choices sooner rather than later. Sure, there’s not much harm in eating out or indulging in a sugar coma-inducing unicorn Frappuccino every once in a while, as long as your daily diet is more balanced and nutritious.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you surprised by this latest study claiming millennials will be the most obese generation? Why do you think this is the case? What should individuals and the government do to combat this issue?