Old But Upbeat

Quick quiz: Which group is more physically active—people age 55-64 or those 65 and up? Among North Americans, polling by Ipsos-Reid finds 33 percent of the 65-plus cohort gets regular exercise, vs. 18 percent of the 55-64-year-olds. Similarly, more of the 65-plusers say they control their weight by carefully choosing how much and what they eat (31 percent vs. 23 percent). They’re much more likely to take vitamins and other nutritional supplements (60 percent vs. 46 percent) and a bit more likely to read the nutritional information on food labels (38 percent vs. 35 percent). In nearly all of these respects, North Americans in both age brackets are more attentive to health and fitness than their contemporaries in Europe. This helps explain why the North Americans have a more upbeat view of the decade ahead of them. As you can see from the chart, North Americans who’ve reached or passed age 55 are remarkably positive about their lives 10 years from now. In polling among 55-and-up respondents in Western Europe, by contrast, the “worse off” tally exceeded the “better off” total by a margin of 38 percent to 11 percent. And among Eastern Europeans, “worse off” surpassed “better off” by 24 percent to 19 percent, with a plurality of respondents giving the sensible “don’t know” response.