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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Britain's middle-aged suffering from health crisis

The international Bupa Health Pulse study asked more than 13,000 people in 12 different countries questions about their health and lifestyles.

The study, which questioned more than 2,000 people in the UK, found:
• Over a third (35%) of British 45-54 year olds are obese - double the international average for this age group (17%).
• A quarter (24%) of 45-54 year old smokers get through 10 or more cigarettes a day compared with  an international average of 18 percent.
• Over a quarter (27%) of those polled in this age group say they suffer from depression compared with just 17 per cent internationally.
• Nearly half of British 45-54 year olds (45%) say they feel negative about their financial situation, 30 per cent feel negative about their career and 21 per cent feel negative about life in general - all higher than the international average.

Dr Sneh Khemka, medical director, Bupa International, said: "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. Fortunately, however, there are no medical reasons why middle aged Britons should fare worse for health than other age groups, or their peers around world – so it's possible to tackle this trend."