Korea has one of the world’s fastest-aging populations.
To make matters worse, younger people may be aging faster, too, new data shows.
According to a report provided to JoongAng Ilbo by the National Health Insurance Service on Oct. 16, people in their 20s and 30s showed a sharper increase in chronic metabolic disease rates than people in their 50s and 60s.
Geriatric diseases related to a person’s metabolism, most notably diabetes, high blood pressure, gout and arthritis, now appear decades earlier in the so-called MZ Generation.
The MZ Generation refers to millennials born between 1980 and 1995 and Generation Z born between 1996 and 2010.
There was a 73.8 percent increase in the number of diabetes cases in their 20s to 30s compared to a decade ago, rising from 75,868 to 131,846 between 2012 and 2022.
When it comes to high blood pressure, there was a 45.2 percent increase, rising from 99,474 to 214,243 between 2012 and 2022.
Young patients suffering from hyperlipidemia more than doubled in the same period.
At the same time, those diseases showed a much more gradual increase in people in their 50s and 60s.
Health experts say that the MZ generation is at risk of “accelerating aging,” where their biological ages are older than one’s actual age.
Many attributed the causes to the lack of a work-and-life balance and the younger generations’ drastically different dietary patterns and lifestyle choices.
After having a long day with no sufficient breaks but endless work and study, a 35-year-old researcher — identified by his family name of Kang — turns to fast food spots or convenience stores for a quick meal. Then, the researcher returns to his busy life, earning praise from those around him for his diligence.
His medical checkups have much less kinder things to say about his lifestyle.
Kang was diagnosed with hyperlipidemia, fatty liver disease and lifestyle-induced arteriosclerosis. Now, Kang takes Statins, a hyperlipidemia medication.
“I never thought these diseases could happen in my 30s,” Kang said.
Health experts point to generational differences in food토스카지노 주소, dietary patterns and lifestyles.
“Younger people are physically inactive, with little exercise since school. After college and finding a job, they have little time for workouts or quality sleep. Once this cycle sets in, people resort to food as a sort of reward,” said Shim Kyung-won, a professor at the Department of Family Medicine from Ewha Women’s University Medical Center Seoul.