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Good Health News For So-Called "Sandwich Generation"

Employees face higher levels of stress, especially the "generation sandwich" trapped between children and career. But a new German study shows those with children wind up healthier.

Family may be a source for healthier life
Family may be a source for healthier life
Sabine Menkens

BERLIN — It is supposed to be the "rush hour" phase of life, those years between the age of 30 and 45, where our energy level is put to the test as we wind up caught between starting a family, career development and taking care of one's own aging parents. Many such working parents can wind up feeling crushed by life.

But according to a new study, the so-called "sandwich generation" is in surprisingly good shape health-wise. The Techniker Krankenkasse German national health report of 2016 took a closer than usual look at the health indicators of this age bracket. It found that, yes, parents with small children are sick more often than childless people of the same age. But from age 40 on, things turn around.

From this moment on parents are less often on sick leave than working people without children. Family, it turns out, may be a source of physical power. Whereas parents of little children are more often on sick leave, probably due to contagious illnesses, older parents are clearly healthier than the childless.

Still, the study noted that the key factor in health for the 30-45 year old age bracket was stress on the job. Only half of the interviewees described their health condition as "very good" or at least "good." Half of them complained about pain. Chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal ailments and cardiovascular diseases also increase over time.

Experts note that in many companies health management is mostly associated with nutrition, sports and wellness, rather than human development. Especially the lack of motivation among employees is a major issue in many enterprises. One out of four respondents complained about a lack of appreciation from colleagues and superiors.

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