© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New study analyzes the growing chronic medical conditions among millennials

New study finds that millennials are having more and more chronic medical conditions.
New study finds that millennials are having more and more chronic medical conditions.

Although they only range in age from 27 to 42 years-old, millennials are experiencing chronic health conditions at a significant rate. A new study from the Health Action Council shows that millennials exceed older generations in chronic conditions, making them more dependent on the healthcare system compared to other age groups.

Medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, back disorders, and particularly behavioral health disorders in the millennial population contribute to a higher burden on the healthcare system. Patty Starr, President and CEO of the Health Action Council, and Craig Kurtzweil, vice president of the UnitedHealthcare Center for Advanced Analytics, co-authored the article and detail some of its most significant findings.

As millennials are now entering their 40s, Kurtzweil explains that the medical challenges that often accompany that age bracket are impacting the millennial generation. However, millennials are typically treating their medical conditions through virtual methods, which often offer various amounts of adequate medical care.

He describes it this way, "Typically, when I think about millennials, you think young, healthy, invincible populations. But to be clear, we blinked during the pandemic and that is completely changed. So the millennials are turning 40," he says. "And the real challenge [is] just how do they engage the healthcare system now that they have chronic disease."

Kurtzweil says utilizing urgent care, emergency rooms, and virtual appointments to treat diseases like diabetes is a very costly way to get treatment, which millennials typically use as one of the multiple ways to get quick care instead of using the brick and motor.

A particularly glaring finding from the article is the increase in behavioral health. Behavioral health utilization is up 35%, and conditions such as anxiety, depression and trauma disorders make up 66% of behavioral diagnoses.

Kurtzweil explains, "Some of that is obviously impacted by the pandemic and lockdowns, and all of the stress over the last few years is definitely important to think about. But I would also say, in general, the millennial population had a high prevalence of health issues before covid."

Starr notes that employer procedures and practices would likely need to be adjusted to accommodate the strain on the medical care industry as well. She says, "It's really important that employers implement and promote disease prevention and lifestyle modification programs. In addition to that, I think it's very important that employers help educate employees on where to obtain healthcare, that it's not. Always the quickest place you want to go," she says.

To access the full report click here.


Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
Related Content