For baby boomers, peak interest in health issues comes at about age 51, with a second peak coming near age 65, according to a new study.
The results may help health professionals target this generation with health messages at a time when they are most receptive to hearing them, the researchers said in a press release.
The study, based on a survey of Americans age 45 to 65, showed that people in their late 40s had the lowest levels of interest in health issues, according to the press release. Interest rose quickly, however, and peaked in the early 50s, then dropped slightly and plateaued during the rest of the 50s and early 60s. Another rise in interest occurred near age 65.
This is the first study to find health-related “change points” during the lifespan when people perceive health needs to be more important than at other times, said John Dimmick, lead author of the study and emeritus associate professor of communication at Ohio State University.
The researchers suspect interest in health peaks in the early 50s because of what doctors and the media tell people reaching that age, according to the press release.
“Fifty is the age Americans are told they need to undergo a variety of health screenings,” Dimmick said. “People start really paying attention to their health when they are encouraged to get all of these various screening tests.”