Across 12 countries, Britons between 45 and 54 were found to be in the worst shape.
Middle-aged people are meant to be in the prime of their lives. But the middle-aged people in Britain have been found to be in the world’s worst shape.
They are fatter, more depressed and much more likely to be puffing away on cigarettes than their peers around the globe.
What’s more, even the fast-food-loving, exercise-shy Americans – who have long been regarded as the benchmark for unhealthy living – are in better shape.
So what’s going wrong with us? A mis-spent youth, long working hours, heavier financial responsibilities and a mistaken belief that we are thinner and healthier than we actually are, are combining to create a ‘perfect storm’ of ill health in middle-age, experts said.
Their study of more than 13,000 people in 12 countries found Britons aged 45 to 54 were the fattest. They are also the biggest smokers, and the most likely to be depressed and have the gloomiest outlook on life.
They are in worse mental and physical health than any others of their age group, from Australia to India. The only good news is this health crisis appears to be confined to mid-life, with Britons starting to take better care of themselves after the age of 55, the research for private healthcare group Bupa found.
In the UK, more than a third of 45- to 54-year-olds are obese – double the international average for this age group. Just 8 per cent in this age group described themselves as ‘very healthy’ – compared with 11 per cent of 55- to 64-year-olds and 10 per cent of pensioners.
Many of those polled said lack of time, motivation, energy and money were barriers to healthy living.
The study also revealed Britons as the most pessimistic across all age groups. Overall, just 48 per cent said they felt positive about life in general – compared with 64 per cent of Brazilians and 73 per cent of Mexicans.
Dr Sneh Khemka, Bupa’s health director said: ‘People hitting 45 often find the excesses of their youth are catching up with them just at the time when financial and personal responsibilities are growing. Health can fall down their list of priorities.’
He added: ‘We always think of our American colleagues as being the ones who have to worry about obesity and lifestyle issues. But in the 45 to 54 age group we have overtaken them in terms of ill health. It is a real wake-up call.’
Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, said work pressures mount in a person’s 40s and 50s, as they strive to gain seniority in their job. Health is likely to suffer the most among couples this age where both people are working, he added.
Via Daily Mail