E-Science News has come out with an article detailing a 65 year-long study on Boomers by the Medical Research Council of Britain. The title of the article alone, “Baby Boomer Study Shows Importance of Childhood,” is vital to understanding how they become who they become. Mainly this involves the fact that, after years of research, scientists have as yet not found anyone who started life as an adult. This will be bad news for as yet unborn generations of Americans who were hoping to avoid years of sibling rivalry and having to learn the names of all the states.
The life-long study, followed 5,000 men and women since their birth in the same week of March 1946. No one knows how scientists knew back then that this generation of people would be the first of the Baby Boomers, although rumor has it that the babies started giving hospital nursery workers the peace sign and in one hospital, attempted to organize a rock concert.
The study found that social class differences seen in birth weight and infant survival persisted well into childhood. It also demonstrated the importance of parents being involved in their child’s schooling, providing the evidence that equally able children from poorer families had fewer educational opportunities. Also, babies who had a lower birth weight tended to have higher blood pressure in adulthood. Those of the lowest birth weight who grew faster post-natally, or had an earlier puberty, have been shown to have a higher cardiovascular risk. Heavier baby girls were more likely to develop breast cancer.
The study caused thousands of babies to petition the government for documentation that would allow them to leave the lower class and enter the middle class. They were told that all middle class slots were currently taken, but “the study influenced the design of the NHS and shaped the law, allowing midwives to give pain relief to women in labour and improving visiting rights for children in hospital.” The babies said that wasn’t exactly what they had in mind.
As Baby Boomers now enter retirement, newly collected data from the study will provide evidence about the prevalence of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and mobility problems. In today’s aging society, the new data will be “crucial for those planning future social and health care services.”
It will also be crucial for those Boomers who would like to have a future, period.