Today’s adults are so unhealthy they are medically 15 years older than their parents were at the same age, according to a new study.
Two thirds of UK adults are now overweight or obese
Despite life expectancy having improved over the last few decades, the younger generation is 15 years ahead of the older generation in terms of metabolic health because of the prevalence of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Researchers from the Netherlands followed 6,000 individuals for up to 16 years and compared the health of people in their twenties, thirties, forties and fifties.
At the start of the study, 40 per cent of men in their thirties were overweight. But a decade on, and the proportion of overweight men in the next generation of 30 year olds had increased to 52 per cent.
Meanwhile, women in their 20s were twice as likely to be obese as those 10 years previously.
The researchers also found that blood pressure had increased among the younger generation of both men and women. Additionally, young men had a higher risk of diabetes than their fathers or their grandfathers.
Author Gerben Hulsegge, from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment said: “The prevalence of obesity in our youngest generation of men and women at the mean age of 40 is similar to that of our oldest generation at the mean age of 55.
“This means that this younger generation is '15 years ahead' of the older generation and will be exposed to their obesity for a longer time.”
Experts warn that the effect will mean a slowing of the increase of life expectancy, or even a complete reversal.
An excess of fat, sugar and salt in our diet as well as inactivity means that diabetes, blood pressure and obesity are higher than ever before.
Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled from 1.4 million to 2.9 million, and by 2025 it is estimated that five million people will have the condition.
High blood pressure, one of the biggest causes of heart disease and stroke, affects one in four of the adult population or around 12 million people in the UK.
And with two-thirds of people in the UK classified as overweight or obese, on present trends this figure looks likely to reach 90 per cent by 2050.
Maintaining a healthy weight and keeping active is one of the ways you can lower your health insurance premiums. Some policies even incentivise their customers to stay fit with discounted gym memberships and stop smoking sessions.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013