If you were born from 1980 to 1999 you’re officially a millennial, one of the most debated-about generations. The subject of many studies, millennials often cop a bad rap by older generations; even though when it comes to health, millennials are exercising more, eating healthier and drinking less than the generations before.
Despite this, there’s still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to the health of millennials, if these five health mistakes are anything to go by.
1. You’re not sleeping soundly
Are you lying awake at night, worrying about your troubles or the to-do list for the day ahead? A lack of sleep has been proven to create more stress in our lives, creating a vicious sleep cycle. This survey by the American Psychological Association reveals that millennials are experiencing a higher level of stress compared to previous generations. To create better bedtime habits, make sure you stay off your phone before hitting the hay and avoid overdoing it on caffeine throughout the day.
2. Neglecting your mental health
A recent survey of over 4,500 people in the UK shows that millennials (27%) are more stressed than their baby boomer counterparts (17%), particularly when it comes to work.
Richard Grange, from the Mental Health Foundation said “The mental health impact of work can follow us home. A good job where we feel secure and supported can boost our mental health. But poor and insecure working conditions undermine good mental health.
And, experts warn that the incidence of mental illness among the millennial generation is likely to get worse.
“Anxiety has been increasing,” Robert Leahy wrote in a Psychology Today article about the predominance of the disorder in society.
“The average high school kid today has the same level of anxiety as the average psychiatric patient in the early 1950s.”
3. Super-size me
Despite the growing health and fitness trends bombarding our Instagram feeds (kale smoothie following your HIIT workout, anyone?), the obesity rate for this generation is rising quicker than you can finish that stacked plate of pancakes.
According to the Ministry of Health, New Zealand has the third highest adult obesity rate in the OECD, and our rates are rising. Almost one in three adult New Zealanders (over 15 years) are obese, and one in ten children.
4. Slaves to social media
According to a recent survey by the Royal Society for Public Health on the social media behaviours of 14-24 year-olds, four out of the five main social media platforms are linked with increased rates of anxiety, depression and poor sleep. Interestingly, Instagram was causing the most damage on average, producing high rates of body image issues, FOMO (that’s a ‘fear of missing out’ for all you non-millennials), trouble sleeping and bullying.
5. Escalating STDs
It is now more important than ever to use protection and get tested regularly with the number of some STD types escalating. In 2015 chlamydia was the most commonly reported STD in New Zealand with twice the number of cases reported in females than in males and 83% of cases in the 15-29 years age group. While almost 70% of gonorrhoea cases were reported in the same age group.
As you can see, while the millennial generation scores gold stars in some sections of its health report card, there are still ways to turn those Bs into straight As.