Last week I wrote about the need for cities to adjust to the rapidly growing numbers of aging Baby Boomers and for the Boomers to take care of themselves. Now there's a new study that says my people may be the Greatest Generation -- if by greatest you mean heaviest.
A recent Associated Press story reports that one-third of all Boomers are overweight, compared to a quarter of those in both older and younger generations. An obese senior is 34% more expensive for our Medicare system than a senior at a healthy weight.
Our social safety net is going to be strained enough by the 77 million of us in my generation, without making it worse by not keeping ourselves in shape.
Good city living can help. The average New Yorker walks a lot more then the average suburbanite, and it turns out that even moderate exercise, like walking two-and-a-half hours per week can have noticeable health benefits.
Places that are set up to drive everywhere cause people to have to be intentional about their exercise. In other words, the only way to get exercise is to plan to go to the gym or get some home exercise equipment and use it on a daily basis. The great thing about a real urban environment is that exercise just happens as part of your daily routine.
The built environment, if done right, makes regular exercise as simple and natural as breathing.