Millennials improving health in the U.S., motivated by social media

October 31, 2016

Daryn Vlad

Dominique Rodriguez

Special to The Scribe

     Millennials have been named one of the laziest generations in the U.S., but a new poll suggests otherwise.

     When they aren’t taking selfies or scrolling through their Twitter feed, 19-35 year olds spend a lot of their time making healthier decisions than older generations, “turning the tide” of the America’s well-being.

     The Gallup Poll, “Obesity, Smoking Damage in U.S. Economy,” suggests that millennials’ health has improved from 2008 to 2015.

     Dan Witters and Sangeeta Agrawal gathered that people born between 1980 and 1996 have influenced the nation’s well-being in obesity and smoking.

     The poll shows that obesity in Americans has increased by 2.5 percent in the past seven years and the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has increased by 0.8 percent. Overall, the U.S. has decreased its number of smokers by 2.6 percent.

     Millennials, however, may be a game changer for these results.

     People ages 19-35 have improved obesity rates by 0.6 percent and decreased smoking by 3.3 percent from 2008 to 2015.

     Millennials have also increased the amount of exercise (30 active minutes at least three days a week) by 4.2 percent, while non-millennials only improved their daily exercise by 0.5 percent.

     Stephanie Ramos believes that social media is the cause of young people’s desire to be fit and healthy.

     “Social media encourages people to eat organically and it has become a trend to be more nutritious,”

     Media, particularly Instagram and Twitter, idolize men and women who practice healthy lifestyles, putting their number of followers in the thousands and sometimes millions.

     Blogger and Instagram user Ella Mills (@DeliciouslyElla) uses these platforms to inspire others to eat healthy, plantbased foods and to practice an active lifestyle.

     Mills posts photos and videos of healthy meals and daily workouts for her 961,000 followers to view. Because many millennials participate in social media, it is these young adults who are most influenced by social media stars.

     Steven Bono believes young adults are inspired by older generations to quit smoking and become healthier.

     “Many of my family members quit smoking and it has inspired me to avoid these bad habits,” he said.

     According to the American Lung Association, in 1987, lung cancer was the leading cause of death among women.

     From 2005 to 2014, smoking has decreased by 2.3 percent.

     Noah Taube, however, said he still sees young smokers on campus every day.

     “Look, there are four people united by smoking right over there,” he said.

     Andrew Hardy agreed that many young people use cigarettes as a form of socialization, or to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that comes with being a college student.

     “It is addictive and people get stressed and turn to smoking for relief,” he said.

     UCCS is widely considered a nontraditional campus, with students who focus their attention on academic success more than parties and social events.

     This may add to a student’s stress and they may turn to substances to alleviate some of this pressure.

     Editor’s Note: As part of COMM 2900, Writing for the Media, students submitted articles that tied a Gallup poll to the local area. The best was selected for use in The Scribe and is printed here.