Here’s something you can add to the growing list of “how millennials are getting the shaft.” They’re not only faced with an overpriced housing market, massive college debt, and an ecologically devastated planet: It’s even harder for them to lose weight than it was for baby boomers and Gen Xers. The Atlantic reported on a study in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, stating that millennials have to eat less and exercise more just to maintain the same weight levels that their parents did 20 or 30 years ago:
A given person, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988 would have a BMI that was about 2.3 points higher. In other words, people today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, even if they follow the exact same diet and exercise plans.
There are unfair reasons for this increase. The Atlantic quotes Jennifer Kuk, a professor of kinesiology and health science at Toronto’s York University, who pointed to three factors. The first one is increased exposure to chemicals that might be weight-inducing: “Pesticides, flame retardants, and the substances in food packaging might all be altering our hormonal processes and tweaking the way our bodies put on and maintain weight.” Not much you can do about that, or factor number two, which points to the weight gain that goes along with the increased usage of antidepressants. Finally, the fact that Americans now eat more meat than they did a few decades ago has led to a change in our microbiomes, or the “types of gut bacteria [that] make a person more prone to weight gain and obesity.”
On the upside, millennials: At least you have a plethora of fitness apps to make it easier for you to track your diet and exercise plans, unlike the antiquated systems of old: