Employee Wellness – 2021 Study Reveals Millennials are at a Risk of Chronic Health Diseases

employee wellness - Chronic Health Diseases

Employee Wellness – 2021 Study Reveals Millennials are at a Risk of Chronic Health Diseases

Employee health and wellbeing have become a top priority for most organizations. Most millennials and Gen Z are now choosing their employers based on the company’s employee wellness solutions and workplace culture over their pay structure and other workplace benefits. And so, employee wellness programs have become a necessity and an integral part of workplace benefits and policies.

Unlike the popular myth that the younger generation is relatively healthier than older generations, studies prove that Millennials are at a higher risk of acquiring chronic health diseases and lifestyle-related conditions.  According to a Blue Cross Blue Shield report, the increased physical and mental health issues have declined millennial health seriously. As health and wellbeing plunge, healthcare costs increase. The study shows millennials will see a 33% rise in healthcare costs compared to what the Baby Boomers experienced. Also, mortality rates were expected to rise by 40%. Owing to the health-related hour cuts, millennials may have a $4,500 per person reduction in their annual income.

Statista recently published the outcomes of employee mental wellbeing and its associated factors, which showed the burnout feelings and mental stress in different working generations. According to the study, Millennials reported higher burnout rates of 53% in 2020 and 59% in 2021 compared to the other generations.

Another 2021 study conducted by The Harris Poll revealed the prevalence of chronic health conditions in older millennials and other adults.

Outcomes of the 2021 Chronic Health Conditions Study

Statista published the outcomes of this 2021 chronic health conditions survey conducted in April 2021 with 4,012 respondents in the United States. The age group of the entire study group was 18 years and above, of which, around 831 respondents were in the age group of 33 – 44 years.

When asked about the different chronic health conditions they were diagnosed with, the outcomes varied between the older millennials and other adults.

While 56% of the older millennials said they did not have any chronic medical condition, 50% of the other generations said the same. An equal 19% each for millennials and the general public said they had at least one chronic health condition. Similarly, an equal 2% of the entire study group (including millennials and other groups) said they were diagnosed with five or more chronic health conditions.

In 2021, the most common health condition was chronic migraine headaches as reported by 26% of the older millennials, while only 16% of respondents from other generations experienced the same. This was followed by major depression in 23% of millennials compared to 20% of the general public. 

The other common chronic health conditions reported by the respondents included – 

  • Asthma – 19% in Millennials and 16% in others
  • Type-2 Diabetes – 16% in Millennials and 19% in others
  • Hypertension – 15% in millennials and 32% in others
  • High Cholesterol – 11% in millennials and 25% in others
  • Obesity – 10% in millennials and 13% in others
  • Heart disease – 4% in millennials and 8% in others
  • Cancer – 4% in millennials and 5% in others

Hypertension was a common chronic health condition in 32% of the general public, compared to 15% of the millennials. This was followed by high cholesterol levels in 11% of millennials and 25% of the other working generations.

The less common chronic health conditions included –

  • Eating disorder – 12% in millennials and 7% in others
  • Alcohol use disorder – 9% in millennials and 6% in others
  • Substance use disorder – 8% in millennials and 4% in others
  • Tobacco use disorder – 7% in millennials and 6% in others
  • Kidney disease – 4% in millennials and 5% in others

A few other chronic health disorders that were not listed individually in the report accounted for 13% in the millennials and 24% in the other general public.

Studies reveal that preventable chronic health conditions contribute to the highest employee medical claim costs and insurance premiums. Studies also show that employers can save up to $730 billion in healthcare costs by promoting healthy employee lifestyle habits.

Bringing aboard employee wellness programs can be an excellent way to promote healthy lifestyle habits. The right employee engagement strategies can ensure workforce participation in wellness challenges and adopting healthy habits. This will reflect better wellbeing, enhanced productivity, and reduced healthcare costs.