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By: Alexandra Gill

Millennials born between the years of 1980 and 2000 aren’t the healthiest generation for four reasons: they’re likely to be diagnosed with colon cancer, rectum cancer, obesity, and are at a higher risk of stroke and contracting sexually transmitted diseases. They ignore these health concerns because millennials think it could never happen to them. Millenials have to learn how to develop healthy habits to prevent being rushed to the hospital.

It’s hard to live beyond the now, to visualize what bad outcomes could be prevented ten years from now by doing the right things while still relatively healthy says Shivani Agarwal, an assistant professor of Medicine in the division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute research found that colon cancer rates increased by 1.0 percent to 2.4 percent in adult’s age between 20 to 39 years. To prevent millennials from getting colon cancer, stop eating red meat such as pork, beef, and lamb, as well as processed meats such as bologna, hot dogs, and liver.

Obesity is the second health issue millennials ignore while going through life. Seven out of ten millennials are expected to be overweight by their late 30s says Simon Jenkins. Obesity can lead to long-term changes in how the body processes food, maintains weight and affects other organs of the body. Due to a younger person’s economic circumstances, some families can afford foods such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or microwave foods, while others hardly have money to eat at all. Parents of generation X and baby boomers have to be unselfishly giving and mindful when it comes to the stomachs of starving children.

Stroke is also a concern. The stroke risk for young men and women has doubled for men between the ages of 18-34 according to a study from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The younger age group had higher rates of untreated high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and also were more likely to be uninsured, which can lead to more poorly controlled risk factors for stroke, says Dr. Agarwal.

Millennials also tend to ignore the signs leading up to sexually transmitted diseases. Since the millennials didn’t see the AIDS epidemic, they are more at risk of HIV, and they think it’s manageable and it’s not. Millennials are less likely to have had an HIV test, even compared to older groups says, Brandon Brown an HIV expert at the University of California Riverside School of Medicine. He noted millennials believe they’re not at risk or think HIV is a manageable illness.

The goal for millennials is to establish healthier eating habits, so ten years from now they won’t regret it. Parents and families need to do a better job of explaining why it’s important to wear condoms to prevent the risk of HIV. Millennials must hold themselves accountable to make monthly doctor visits when sexually active. Getting more rest, practicing meditation, and exercising will help millennials maintain a healthy lifestyle.


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