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Are Boomers the Most Obese Generation?

En español | The baby boom generation is huge — literally, according to a new poll. Based on their BMI calculations, 36 percent of surveyed people between the ages of 46 and 64 are overweight and an additional 36 percent are considered obese, for a grand total of 72 percent over normal weight. That's compared to only about 25 percent of Generation Xers or the "Greatest Generation."

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So what happened? For the generation that claims "you're never too old" to do just about anything, fitness doesn't seem to be on the list. While most respondents are concerned about their health (81 percent say they exercise for health reasons rather than to improve their looks) and perform some form of regular activity, it's not enough to shed the pounds. That’s just the minimum to stay in shape – weight loss may require more.

 And don’t forget the dumbbells. Strength training exercises, such as pushups, lifting weights and Pilates, help retain crucial muscle mass that helps keep bones strong, boosts metabolism and burns fat long after the workout ends. More than a third surveyed say they don’t do any type of strength training exercise at all.

On the food front: About 61 percent are dieting to lose weight, but only 39 percent are following doctor’s orders.

An obese woman walks on a boardwalk-Many boomers are obese

Of the boomers surveyed, 72 percent were over normal weight. — Photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Although 56 percent of boomers rate their health as generally good, the last five years have not been good to some. About one-third say their health has taken a turn for the worse since 2006. And it’s not heart disease or diabetes that tops their concerns; it’s cancer and Alzheimer's.

Some good news from the survey: People in the boomer crowd are generally happy: A combined 69 percent reported being either "Very Happy" or "Somewhat Happy" with their lives.

The bottom line?: For many, paying for Medicare coverage is already a struggle. Now is the time to get in shape. Conditions associated with obesity (diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc.) can almost double monthly health care costs.

 "They're going to be expensive if [boomers] don't get their act together," Jeff Levi of the nonprofit Trust for America's Health told the Associated Press.

The Associated Press and surveyed 1,416 adults, including 1,078 people born between 1946 and 1964.

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