Medical Health concept The majordecline in millennials' health begins at age 27, and there areactually double-digit increases for eight of the top 10 healthconditions among millennials. (Image: Chris Nicholls/ALM)

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Behavioral health problems are taking a toll on millennials—fromdepression to anxiety and substance use. And as a result, they're lesshealthy than GenXers were at their age.

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So says the Health of America study from the Blue CrossBlue Shield Association, which found that a third of millennialsare suffering from health conditions that impair both quality oflife and life expectancy. The study also found thatmillennials diagnosed with eight of 10 leading health conditionsmore often than Gen X are more likely to be less healthy than theirGen X counterparts when they're older.

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Related: Millennials face greater risk of obesity-relatedcancer than Boomers

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Cardiovascular and endocrine issues including diabetes top thelist, and they hit millennials harder than they did GenXers. Andwomen really come out the losers, being 20 percent less healthythan their male contemporaries—driven down by “higher rates ofmajor depression, type II diabetes, and endocrine conditions.”

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Yet a recent BCBSA survey found that millennials think they'reactually pretty healthy, with 83 percent saying they're in good orexcellent health. But while 91 percent of GenXers have a primarycare physician, which can make a big difference in preventive care,just 68 percent of millennials do.

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The major decline in health, the report says, begins at age 27,and there are actually double-digit increases for eight of the top10 health conditions among millennials—six of which are behavioralhealth conditions and four of which are physical. Major depression,for instance, has risen by 31 percent among millennials from 2014to 2017; hyperactivity has risen by 29 percent during that periodand type II diabetes is up by 22 percent.

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The other seven conditions are substance use disorder (up by 10percent); alcohol use disorder (up by one percent); hypertension(up by 16 percent); psychotic conditions (up by 15 percent);Crohn's disease/ulcerative colitis (up by 10 percent); highcholesterol (up by 12 percent); and tobacco use disorder (up by 7percent).

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Older millennials in southern states are less healthy than theircontemporaries in other parts of the country, too, while those inwestern states tend to be healthier.

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The report points out, “The health status of millennials willlikely have substantial effects on the American economy over thenext two decades—including workplace productivity and health carecosts.”

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.