Baby boomers worry more about health than appearance as they age; display substance abuse issues, poll finds

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Baby boomers are more concerned with how aging affects their physical and mental health than the role it plays in their appearance, according to a new poll.

Sixty-five percent of baby boomers, or those currently between the ages of 47 and 65, say they are concerned with their health as they age, with 26% focused on their mental abilities. But only 8% cited their appearance as their biggest aging battleground, according to the results of a poll sponsored by the Associated Press and the website, Medical News Today reported. These and similar findings suggest nursing home operators may want to reconsider hair salons in communities as they prepare for baby boomers.

Boomers also are slightly less active than the previous generation, with only 57% of those polled saying they've started a regular exercise regimen in the last year. Of those that do exercise regularly, 35% say walking is the exercise of choice.

Approximately 4.3 million adults aged 50 or older used an illicit drug in the last year, according to a new report from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The agency warns that substance abuse in this age group could present public health challenge in the next 10 years.