Middle-aged people in England face a health crisis because of unhealthy lifestyles, experts have warned. Desk jobs, fast food and the daily grind are taking their toll, says Public Health England.
Eight in every 10 people aged 40 to 60 in England are overweight, drink too much or get too little exercise, the government body warns. PHE wants people to turn over a new leaf in 2017, and make a pledge to get fit. Health officials say the “sandwich generation” of people caring for children and ageing parents do not take enough time to look after themselves. We are living longer, but are in poorer health because we store up problems as we age. Many people no longer recognise what a healthy body weight looks like, say the officials – and obesity, which greatly increases the risk of diabetes, is increasingly considered normal. The PHE website and app has a quiz that gives users a health score based on their lifestyle habits by asking questions such as, “Which snacks do you eat in a normal day?” and “How much exercise do you get every day?”.
The questions are simple, but the results are revealing, says Prof Kevin Fenton, director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE. “The How Are You Quiz will help anyone who wants to take a few minutes to take stock and find out quickly where they can take a little action to make a big difference to their health.” More than a million people have taken the quiz so far. Lee Parker is 41 and from Bolton. He did the quiz in March before starting a diet in August. He says it was his son who provided a much-needed wake-up call. Lee’s son, who is now eight, told him he loved him “even though you are fat”. This was the final nudge that Lee says he needed. Weighing in at more than 22 stone, Lee started to diet and exercise and lost just over five stone in 16 weeks.