Seven in 10 worries poor health will limit their life experiences, according to a new survey.
The survey of 2,000 adults in the U.S. split evenly from Gen Z to baby boomers found Gen Z respondents to be the most worried about their health preventing them from experiencing everything they’d like to do in life (75%, versus baby boomers at 63%).
But that wasn’t the only thing that varied between generations: Results found the ‘life moments’ themselves that respondents were — or remembered being — most excited for also differed by age.
Gen Zers were the only ones without “have a child” as their No. 1 most anticipated “life moment”. Instead, they were most looking forward to traveling, earning a degree/certification or buying a house (all tied at 24%).
Younger respondents — Gen Z, millennials and Gen X — all had “reach a health goal” in their top 10 anticipated milestones, while baby boomers were the only generation to rank becoming a grandparent (35%) and retiring (35%) in their top 10.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Know Diabetes by Heart — a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association — the survey also looked at the role health plays in experiencing different life moments.
Results revealed 62% of respondents said doing the things they want in their lifetime will require good health.
Respondents with type 2 diabetes, heart disease or stroke were more worried that health will limit their experiences (89%, 90% and 87%, respectively) compared to respondents who didn’t have those conditions (58%).
More than half (54%) of respondents reported prioritizing their health more as they’ve gotten older.
But it’s not just their own health respondents are thinking about: 65% of respondents are worried their loved ones won’t be healthy enough to experience various life moments with them.
One respondent is worried the couple’s parents won’t be able to see their wedding — which was postponed due to COVID-19 — while another is worried her mother will miss her college graduation.
“Along with COVID-19 has come an increased awareness of underlying conditions like diabetes and heart disease and the additional threats they present,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., MPH, FAAFP, the American Heart Association’s chief medical officer for prevention. “At age 60, having both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease can shorten life expectancy by an average of 12 years, but there is a lot people can do to manage their conditions and modify their risk and have more healthy years.”
Results also revealed that COVID-19 has changed the way many think about life moments, and how respondents view their experiences with others.
Eight in 10 respondents said the pandemic has made daily moments with their loved ones even more special — and 85% said the pandemic has made them more grateful for the time they spend with their loved ones.
Respondents reflected on what they’ll remember as they look back on the COVID-19 pandemic. One said their takeaway was “don’t take normal activity for granted, appreciate every moment you’re alive and well.”
Another respondent said, “always listen to your doctor and health organizations” while someone else said a “greater appreciation for one’s health and well-being.”
“If you want to have the full life you are hoping for on the other side of COVID-19, then resume your doctor appointments, check your health numbers, like blood glucose — and if you have diabetes your hemoglobin A1c — cholesterol and blood pressure, and get a plan for preventing heart disease and stroke,” said Robert H. Eckel, M.D., American Diabetes Association president of medicine and science and an endocrinologist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
TOP “LIFE MOMENTS” — GENERATION Z (AGES 18-23)
Travel somewhere new 23.80% (tied 1, 2 and 3)
Buy a house 23.80% (tied 1, 2 and 3)
Earn a diploma, degree or certification 23.80% (tied 1, 2 and 3)
Spend more time with friends 23%
Reach a health goal 22.20% (tied 5 and 6)
Have a child/children 22.20% (tied 5 and 6)
TOP “LIFE MOMENTS” — MILLENNIALS (AGES 24-39)
Have a child/children 36%
Buy a house 31.60%
Travel somewhere new 30%
Reach a health goal 29.80%
Get married 26.80%
TOP “LIFE MOMENTS” — GENERATION X (AGES 40-55)
Have a child/children 42.60%
Get married 37.20%
Buy a house 34.20%
Travel somewhere new 33.60%
Watch my child(ren) graduate 32.80%
TOP “LIFE MOMENTS” — BABY BOOMERS (AGES 56+)
Have a child/children 40.60%
Get married 39.20%
Watch my grandchildren grow up 38%
Watch my child(ren) graduate 35.40%
TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT THEY’D LIKE TO IN LIFE, RESPONDENTS NEED . . .
My own health 62%
Financial security 62%
Free time 43%
The health of my loved ones 43%
Support from my family and/or friends 39%
SOME PANDEMIC “SILVER LININGS”
Saved money 28%
More quality time with my family or friends 28%
Had more leisure time 28%
Greater understanding of the challenges other people face (unemployment, childcare issues, difficulty getting food, etc.) 26%
More appreciation for things I used to take for granted 26%
Greater appreciation for my health 25%
Checked on someone else 25%
Ate more healthfully 25%
Thought about what’s most important to me 25%
Greater awareness for my health 24%
Reached out to family or friends who I don’t normally hear from 22%
More quality time with my pet(s) 22%
Got more physical activity than normal 21%
Did something nice for someone else 20%
Learned a new skill (Zoom, homeschooling, cooking, making masks, etc.) 20%