Multiple Health Issues Recorded in a Third of UK Middle-Aged

Research carried out by University College London has revealed that more than one in three British adults are living with at least two chronic health conditions. From recurrent back problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and poor mental health, the study has warned that the state of our health in midlife is declining.

The study, focused on ‘generation X’, which includes adults born in 1970, found that those who had grown up in poorer households were up to 43% more likely to suffer with multiple long-term health conditions compared to those who were raised in wealthier families. Factors such as childhood obesity, poor mental health in their adolescent years and those born at a lower birth weight were also at increased risk of poorer health in their midlife.

The study was based on data gained from a group of around 8,000 British adults, who have contributed to the 1970 British Cohort Study since birth, more than 50 years ago. Participants aged between 46 and 48 between 2016 and 2018 were asked to report on their physical and mental health conditions, whilst blood pressure and diabetes screening was also carried out.

The results found that 34% of those surveyed experienced multiple health problems, with 21% reporting recurrent back problems, 19% suffering with mental health problems and 16% living with high blood pressure.

The UCL researcher who authored the paper, Dawid Gondek, said, “This study provides concerning new evidence about the state of the nation’s health in midlife. It shows that a substantial proportion of the population are already suffering from multiple long-term physical and mental health problems in their late 40s, and also points to stark health inequalities, which appear to begin early in childhood.

“Compared to previous generations, it appears that the health of British adults in midlife is on the decline.”

 

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Carrie Plummer - Editor & Content Manager


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