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Who Is The Healthiest? New Aetna Study Shows That Millennials, GenXers And Baby Boomers All Think They Are The Healthiest Generation

Results from a new study reveal that American adults of all ages – Millennials, GenXers and Baby Boomers – feel that their own generation is the healthiest. Nearly half the people surveyed (45 percent) named their own generation as the healthiest, followed by their parents’ generation (32 percent) and the younger generation (23 percent). The findings come from the Aetna (NYSE: AET) “what’s your healthy?” study, a survey of 1,800 Americans ages 25-64 conducted online this spring by Harris Interactive.

The study is a part of Aetna’s “what’s your healthy?” national marketing and advertising campaign. The campaign includes an interactive website,, where people can share their unique definitions of what being healthy means to them.

Other generational differences include:
  • Almost twice as many Baby Boomers (23 percent), who are ages 49-64, define being healthy as getting recommended screenings or checkups, compared to both GenXers (ages 37-48) and Millennials (ages 25-36). A much higher percentage of Millennials define being healthy as having good eating habits (24 percent) and regular physical activity (22 percent), compared with the older generations.
  • Millennials are far more likely than other age groups to reach for alcohol when stressed - 37 percent agree that they often do so. Both GenXers and Millennials also tend to snack on unhealthy food when dealing with stress (48 percent and 51 percent) more frequently than Baby Boomers.
  • Baby Boomers are less self-conscious and look at the big picture. While about one-third of Millennials and GenXers want to look good in their underwear (35 percent and 32 percent), only 19 percent of Boomers consider this important. More than half of Baby Boomers (53 percent) would tell their younger selves not to “sweat the small stuff,” a higher rate than both GenXers (43 percent) and Millennials (36 percent).

“These survey results and the conversation we’ve started on the ‘ what’s your healthy?’ website show that everybody has a different definition of being healthy,” said Robert Mead, senior vice president of Marketing, Product & Communications (MP&C) for Aetna. “We are committed to improving the health and well-being for all generations, and these insights are valuable as we build new tools and resources to help individuals and families achieve their unique health goals.”

Across the generations, Americans give themselves fairly high marks on health status considering their age, with an average score of 70.1 on a 0-100 scale. About a third of people (34 percent) say they’re living healthier today than five years ago. People that are living healthier today cited such factors as choosing “side salads instead of French fries” (47 percent of those living healthier today); dialing down alcohol consumption (37 percent); and adding tougher workouts (34 percent) as ways they are leading healthier lives.

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