A simple, healthy lifestyle can beat back the hands of time
TORONTO, June 1 /CNW/ - The popular notion that '50 is the new 40' and
'40 is the new 30', has been reaffirmed by Canada's baby boomers in a recent
national survey. In fact, 61 per cent of baby boomers say that they feel about
10 years younger than their true age.
In the survey conducted by market research firm Pollara, when asked what
they do to feel younger, 76 per cent cited regular exercise, 71 per cent say
they watch what they eat and 40 per cent say they take a vitamin or mineral
supplement on a regular basis. Most baby boomers surveyed don't rely on
plastic surgery, liposuction or wrinkle creams, for example, but rather
believe they are taking control of the way they age by following a simpler
"This famous generation is more informed in many ways than their parents,
and this gives them a sense of control and empowers them. They pride
themselves on doing things their own way, and now in doing so, they are trying
to rewrite the book on aging," says Dr. Miroslava Lhotsky, family physician,
co-author of The Healthy Boomer, and co-founder and director of the Toronto
Midlife Health Institute. "This is particularly true when it comes to their
approach to healthy living. They are striving to stay fit by exercising and
eating well, in order to stay young. They want to be involved in all aspects
of their health."
While many claim to feel younger than their years, the survey also
reveals that many baby boomers are very concerned about maintaining their good
health in the years to come, in order to reduce the risk of developing chronic
For both men and women surveyed, the greatest health concern is cancer
(60 per cent), followed by heart disease (50 per cent). Other concerns include
Alzheimer's disease (28 per cent), arthritis (26 per cent) and diabetes
(24 per cent). When it comes to osteoporosis, though, women are three times
more likely to be concerned than men (21 per cent versus 7 per cent,
"It's good news that boomers are paying attention to the future because
the reality is, over the next decade, the first round of Canada's ten million
baby boomers will reach the age of 65.(1) Even by age 50, the health risks
associated with aging start to become more apparent, regardless of how young
you feel or how active you are," says Dr. Lhotsky.
Nearly 80 per cent of baby boomers believe that they have some or even a
lot of control in reducing their risk of chronic disease. Andrea Miller,
registered dietitian at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre,
agrees that boomers have a strong hand in ensuring good health in the long
"Diet can have a significant impact in offsetting, to some degree, the
rising health risks that aging brings," says Miller. "But even if we make
healthier food choices, as we age, our bodies don't absorb certain vitamins
and minerals as well from diet alone. A daily multivitamin supplement can
provide the necessary nutritional insurance to fill in the nutrient gaps of a
less than optimal diet."
The Role of Supplementation in Baby Boomers' Health
Boomers, in particular, are at risk of some vitamin and mineral
deficiencies, Dr. Lhotsky adds. The absorption of vitamin B12, for example,
decreases after the age of 50. Strong scientific evidence suggests that the
daily use of a multivitamin can help address these shortcomings. A
multivitamin may also impact elevated blood levels of homocysteine, which has
been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. A Swedish study in the
Journal of Nutrition, for example, showed that the use of a multivitamin
supplement was associated with reduced homocysteine levels and therefore a
lower risk of heart disease. Further studies show that multivitamin
supplementation can also help improve immune function and help reduce the risk
of age-related macular degeneration, cancer and osteoporosis.
Boomers, particularly women, are also at an increased risk of
osteoporotic fractures because of vitamin D and calcium deficiencies.
According to the most recent (2002) Clinical Practice Guidelines for the
Diagnosis and Management of Osteoporosis in Canada and the Osteoporosis
Society of Canada, those over the age of 50 should be consuming 1,500 mg of
calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D daily.
When choosing a supplement to address vitamin and mineral deficiencies,
Miller recommends that baby boomers look for a multivitamin that is formulated
specifically for those aged 50 plus, such as Centrum Select(R), which has
higher levels of vitamin B6 and B12, vitamin E and a lower level of iron. Many
healthcare professionals may also recommend taking a calcium supplement with
increased vitamin D, such as Caltrate Select(TM) specifically formulated for
older adults with 400 IU of vitamin D.
About the survey
The telephone survey of 1,103 Canadians between 45 and 64 years of age
was conducted by POLLARA Inc., from April 11 to 16, 2005, and claims a margin
of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
About Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Inc.
Wyeth Consumer Healthcare Inc. is a leading Canadian provider of
non-prescription pharmaceutical products that manufactures quality nutritional
supplements, including Canada's top selling multivitamin brand, Centrum(R).
Wyeth Consumer Healthcare is committed to reformulating its multivitamins
regularly to reflect the latest nutritional science.
Survey highlights are available upon request
(1) Statistics Canada 2002