For a generation that seems to have grown up with everything, scientists at York University in Canada have discovered one possible disadvantage to being a member of the so-called “millennial” age group: it appears they have a harder time losing weight than their predecessors.
Using information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers looked at the diet and physical activity patterns for thousands of adults who reached adulthood on or around the year 2000. As it turns out, millennials typically had higher BMI scores than those in the previous generation, even though they ate roughly the same amount of calories and exercised just as much.
“I didn’t expect to see this finding,” said lead author Jennifer Kuk, who believes an accumulation of other factors beyond just diet and exercise may be behind the millennials’ struggle with weight loss. They may include stress, lack of sleep, exposure to toxins, medication use, and access to unhealthy foods, and Kuk and her colleagues agree further research is necessary to identify and better understand those factors.
Still, maintaining a healthy weight is not impossible for younger adults. Experts recommend paying attention to changes in daily life and how they may affect weight loss—either positively or negatively—and then maintaining balance by eating the right foods and staying active. “Weight management is actually much more complex than just energy in versus energy out,” said Kuk.