Dying to be Young? More of the Young are Dying

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Young doesn't mean healthy. Young adults are becoming obese at a faster rate than other age groups, and they're the only demographic where heart disease deaths are increasing.

Heart disease deaths declined 30 percent between 2000 and 2010, but increased for one particular group: young adults.

Among those 25 to 35 years old, deaths from heart disease rose 5 percent, the Department of Health and Human Services says in its annual report. In 2011, only that group saw an increase in mortality from any cause.

That’s not the only bad news. We’re collectively getting fatter even though we’re exercising more than we were 10 years ago, The Los Angeles Times says:

Here’s the math. A person can walk an extra mile every day. In a week, that will burn up 900 extra calories. If that person has just one meal consisting of a Big Mac, fries and a Coke, he or she will consume 920 calories. One lunch negates all the extra miles.

A number of other stats may reflect a growing disconnect between youth and health, MarketWatch says:

  • Risk factors for heart-related death — obesity, hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol — are all up and still rising among adults under 40.

  • The obesity rate is growing significantly faster for 12- to 19-year-olds than the rest of the population, with nearly a fifth of adolescents and teens classified as obese.

  • Since the last 90s, the rate of strokes among adults 25 to 44 has risen 75 percent.

We’re mostly talking percentages and trends here. Overall, young adults are still less likely to face heart attacks or die from them than older Americans, MarketWatch says.

Still, “there’s no question that this population has the potential to be a time bomb in their 40s and 50s,” cardiologist Peter Eckman told the site.

That could spell trouble for Obamacare, which is designed to reduce overall health care costs by balancing them on the backs of healthy young adults. If those young adults are less healthy than their parents, the idea may not work as well as envisioned.

Costs related to heart disease are expected to double to more than $400 billion between now and 2030, MarketWatch says.

Stacy Johnson

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