Fat, depressed, smoking, gloomy and forty

Middle-aged Brits are experiencing a mid-life health crisis, according to new research from Bupa, which shows that those aged 45-54 are more likely to be obese, more likely to smoke and more likely to suffer from depression than their peers around the world.

The international Bupa Health Pulse study asked 13,000 people in 12 different countries questions about their health and lifestyles. No other country in the survey - which included Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia, showed such a consistent range of unhealthy results for this age group.

The study, which questioned more than 2000 people in the UK, found:

  • Obesity: 35% of British 45-54 year olds are obese - double the international average for this age group (17%)
  • Smoking: 24% of 45-54 year old smokers get through 10 or more cigarettes a day compared with an international average of 18 per cent
  • Depression: 27% of those polled in this age group say they suffer from depression compared with just 17 % internationally
  • Negative outlook: 45% of British 45-54 year olds say they feel negative about their financial situation, 30 % feel negative about their career and 21 % feel negative about life in general - all higher than the international average.

Dr Sneh Khemka of Bupa International says, "The survey makes alarming reading as Britain's middle-aged are suffering from a health crisis. People hitting 45 often find the unhealthy excesses of their youth are catching up with them just at the time when their financial and personal responsibilities are growing and they are increasingly time poor. These combined elements mean that, for this age group, health can fall down their list of priorities. There are no medical reasons why middle aged Brits should fare worse for health than other age groups, or their peers around world - so it is possible to tackle this trend."

Bupa recommends:

  • Be more self-aware. Face the reality of poor health
  • Achieve a better work/life balance and appreciate that emotional health is intrinsically linked to good health. Get a social life
  • Change diet and eat less alt, saturated fat and sugar. Eat more vegetables and fruit.
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Fat, depressed, smoking, gloomy and forty
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