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‘Middle age health crisis’ warning – BBC News

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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?”.

Wake up call

The questions are simple, but the results are revealing, says Prof Kevin Fenton, director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE.


Image caption Lee Parker says using the app has helped to keep him motivated

“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.

His partner has joined in and has lost two and a half stone.

In April 2017, Lee will be taking part in the Manchester marathon. He says: “You can become very complacent when you are in your forties. You kind of think you’ve done everything and so you can relax and eat pizzas and Chinese in the week.

“I’ve still got another stone to go to my target weight. It’s been very, very difficult. I’m missing all the cakes and the crisps and the biscuits…. I still have them, I still enjoy them, but I know when to say no and I know how much I’ve had.”

Healthier ageing

The NHS has a number of apps and websites that can help you make healthy changes:

Check your heart age

NHS health check

Smokefree

Get going

Couch to 5k

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38402655