Study Finds Baby Boomers Visiting Doctors In Record Numbers
Posted September 3, 2003 2:30 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Between 1946 and 1964, 76 million babies were born. Baby boomers, as they are known, range in age from 38 to 57 years old. Now, the record-setting generation is flocking to doctors offices' in record numbers.
"Every Aug. 1, I call and schedule. It's something I do for myself," said Dora Cornwell.
The 54-year-old schedules her yearly physical and her mammogram at Rex Hospital on the same day each year.
A new survey by the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
finds baby boomers make up over half of all doctors visits.
According to the survey, the number of people over age 45 who visit doctors offices rose 11 percent. The number of doctors visits jumped 26 percent during that same time period.
"We sort of have this surge of people coming through our society now," said Dr. Douglas Hammer, a preventive medicine specialist.
Hammer said treating boomers has its challenges.
"At the early end of the spectrum you still have people that are forming their careers and having children. To the other end, people may be thinking of retirement," he said.
Hammer said many visits are for chronic problems, including high blood pressure, arthritis and diabetes.
"We see a lot of people with diabetes," he said.
Boomers are also taking advantage of preventive visits. The survey found 16 percent of doctors visits are for physicals and cancer screenings.
"People are becoming more aware of what they should do," Hammer said.
Cornwell said her Aug. 1 mammogram is one of the most important things she does all year.
"Absolutely! I'm a firm believer in taking care of myself," she said.
Hammer's best advice for boomers is to watch their diet and weight. Many of the problems plaguing baby boomers are due to poor eating habits and no exercise.