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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Midlife UK health burden increasing

Wednesday July 28th 2021

A large proportion of UK adults in their late 40s have multiple health problems, according to an analysis published today.

Dr Dawid Gondek of University College London, UK, and colleagues carried out the study, using figures from the 1970 British Cohort Study, which has followed about 8,000 individuals for more than 40 years.

Measurements were taken at age 46 to 48. This showed that 34% of adults had more than one chronic health problem. Over a fifth (21%) had chronic back pain, 19% had mental health problems, 16% had high blood pressure, 12% had asthma or bronchitis, 8% had arthritis, and 5% had diabetes. The study is published today in BMC Public Health.

Dr Gondek stated: "This study 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.”

He added: “Compared to previous generations, it appears that the health of British adults in midlife is on the decline. With earlier studies finding links between poor health in adulthood and lower life satisfaction, lower earnings and early retirement, public health guidance should focus on helping the population improve their health in midlife so they can age better, stay economically active and continue to lead fulfilling lives.”

Commenting on the study, Professor George Ploubidis said: “If these links reflect causal effects, policy and practice targeting these core areas in childhood and adolescence may improve the health of future generations and alleviate potential pressures on the NHS.”

Gondek, D. et al. Prevalence and early-life determinants of midlife multimorbidity: evidence from the 1970 British birth cohort. BMC Public Health 28 July 2021

Tags: General Health | NHS | UK News

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