Middle-aged Britons are experiencing a mid-life health crisis, according to research from health provider and insurer Bupa, with those aged 45 to 54 more likely to be obese, to smoke and to suffer from depression than their peers around the world.
The Bupa Health Pulse study asked more than 13,000 people in 12 different countries questions about their health and lifestyle, and concluded that late middle age is the toughest time, in relation to their health, for Britons.
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, said Bupa.
The study, which questioned more than 2,000 people in the UK, found that more than one-third of Britons aged 45 to 54 were obese, double the international average.
A quarter of smokers in this age bracket admitted to getting through 10 or more cigarettes a day, against an international average of 18%. More than a quarter said they suffered from depression, compared with 17% internationally.
Nearly half said that they felt negative about their financial situation, with 30% feeling negative about their career and 21% 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.”