The number of millennials in America—over 83 million—surpassed that of baby boomers for the first time last year. If you or someone you care about is a millennial—born in the 1980s or ’90s—here’s some food for thought.
Millennials are interested in living a healthy lifestyle and define healthy as a daily commitment to eating right, and rather than rely on supplements, they value a natural foods approach to nutrition.
Unlike boomers and Gen Xers, millennials say they want to lose weight not for the sake of appearance but for general health and well-being.
Millennials tend to like exotic flavors and be more adventurous in the kinds of food they’ll eat, compared to previous generations. They generally enjoy good health except for three issues.
1. The obesity issue: Millennials are the first generation to be affected by the childhood obesity epidemic. According to the experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
In addition, millennials’ tendency to go for convenience foods and to follow the latest food trends can exacerbate that.
Then, there’s what they drink. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that over a third of college students consume at least one can or bottle of soda per day, while a Gallup poll found 20-somethings more likely to drink alcohol regularly than do older generations.
2. Meeting nutritional needs: Surveys show millennials can be at risk for a number of vitamin and mineral deficiencies—and that could affect their health for the rest of their lives. In particular, many are not getting enough fiber, vitamins A, E and K, magnesium, iodine and potassium. Often, millennials are at risk for deficiency in vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and vitamin C, too.
In addition, young women may have difficulty meeting the dietary requirements for calcium, vitamin D and iron. Moreover, some 10 percent of young women have low body iron.
3. Founding families: Many millennials are reaching an age when they’re thinking about starting families. It’s important for all women in their childbearing years to eat a healthy diet, with particular care to consuming enough folate and iron. Yet nearly a quarter of women have a folate status lower than necessary to prevent birth defects.
Other nutrients of particular importance during pregnancy include zinc, iodine, choline, DHA, and vitamins D, B6 and B12.
Fortunately, a number of these young people have discovered a convenient, good-tasting and easy way to get many of the nutrients they need: by eating eggs. Eggs are an all-natural source of high- quality protein and a number of other nutrients, all for only about 70 calories an egg. All eggs are not created equal, however, and the diets of the hens that lay them play a significant part.
For example, eggs offer five times the vitamin D and 25 percent less saturated fat than ordinary eggs. They’re also packed with other important nutrients including three times more vitamin B12, more than twice the omega-3s, 10 times more vitamin E and 38 percent more lutein than regular eggs.