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Survey Reveals Discrepancy in Baby Boomers' Attitudes and Behaviors When It Comes to their Nutrition and Physical Well-Being

Source: Liberty Mutual

Posted on 01 Apr 2013 by Neilson

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Liberty Mutual Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston's Longevity Expert and Medical Director, Dr. Alison Moy, Offers Five Tips to Help Baby Boomers Bridge the Gap and Be Well for Life?. 

On April 7, 2013, World Health Day will focus on the causes and consequences of high blood pressure. Yet in a national survey of more than 500 Americans age 50 to 65, Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston, a Liberty Mutual Insurance company, found that while 77 percent of baby boomers rate their physical health as good or excellent and 50 percent feel as healthy as they did five years ago, less than half (46 percent) are exercising at least three times a week.

Although exercise is only one indicator of an individual's overall health and well-being, three-quarters of those surveyed said they considered physical fitness very important to them. When asked how baby boomers could transform their confident attitudes toward well-being into actual behaviors, Liberty Life's longevity expert and medical director, Dr. Alison Moy, outlined five key changes that can make all the difference:

1. Be proactive. "Don't wait until you feel sick to forge a meaningful relationship with your doctor," said Dr. Moy. "Know your key health numbers like body weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol. Ask your doctor about using self monitoring tools such as wearable devices and smart phone applications to track your progress toward improving your health numbers."

2. Be social. Many self-monitoring tools will connect to social media or online communities - allowing baby boomers to share their fitness accomplishments with others. "Studies have shown that people who network and receive support for reaching goals are more likely to achieve sustained success," Dr. Moy explained.

3. Be attentive. For years, experts have advised reading food labels and avoiding foods with ingredients you can't pronounce. Today, tools such as NuVal® make it even easier to gauge the nutritional value of packaged food.  NuVal® assesses 30 food ingredients and weighs the amount of "good" ingredients, such as vitamins, fiber and iron, against the "bad" ingredients, such as fat, sodium and sugar - assigning each food a score. The higher the score, the better the product's nutrition. "Choosing unsweetened shredded wheat with a score of 91 at breakfast over an English Muffin with score of 21 can help you start the day on a healthy path," said Dr. Moy.

4. Be realistic. Make behavior changes specific and accomplishable - start small and build up to success. "For example, instead of setting a goal to work out at the gym daily, start by taking the stairs at work, not the elevator," said Dr. Moy.

5. Be happy. Bring a positive attitude to every situation you face. "Research has found that personality and outlook can play a role in how long people live. A study in the Journal of Aging found that people who reach 100 have several personality traits in common including high conscientiousness, openness to experience and a positive outlook on life," said Dr. Moy.¹

To help baby boomers reach their unique fitness goals and ambitions, Liberty Life has created an online resource, Be Well for Life?.  Curated by Dr. Moy, Be Well for Life? distills practical information and commonsense tips needed to live a longer, healthier life.

 An infographic on the results is available .

About Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston's Survey

Liberty Life Assurance Company of Boston surveyed pre-retirement age baby boomers to gauge their perceptions about their physical health and well-being and their preparations for retirement. The survey was conducted online in November 2012 by ORC International and surveyed a total of 501 Americans aged 50 to 65.