Is 60 The New 40?

This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

Because you mountain bike, exercise and get enough sleep, you look great. As you are among the first baby boomers to reach 60, your birthday has touched off a flurry of articles and talk show segments asking if 60 is the new 40.

Sixty sure doesn't seem the same as when my parents were that old. I certainly can't picture my father exercising the way the president does.

The president is certainly part of trend. But he is, in fact, the exception and not the rule.

Truth is, Americans are getting fatter and sicker.

I spoke with Dr. Robert Butler of the International Longevity Center, who told me life expectancy in the United States, which has been steadily climbing for decades, will likely start heading back down again. Down, because so many Americans don't exercise or watch their diets. Down, because so many young American are already pre-diabetic.

Is 60 the new 40? For too many Americans, it will be just the opposite.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith