Middle Aged - Overweight &  Inactive

January 2017

It’s 2017 and many people have plans to lose weight or improve their overall health. A study from Public Health England suggests that middle age British people should be putting similar plans into action.

Researchers found that 80% of British adults between the ages of 40 - 60 are overweight, inactive and/or consume too much alcohol; all of which has a negative impact on their current and future health. The study, which compared data from 20 years ago (1991-1993) with information collected in 2011 – 2013, concluded that the later group was less healthy than earlier study participants. This fact was largely blamed on modern sedentary lifestyles.

Results (Click on links to view result graphs):


Over 75% of men sampled in 2011-2013 were considered overweight with over 30% of those considered obese/severely obese compared to only 16%, 20 years prior. 28% of women were also found to be obese/severely obese compared to 20%, 20 years ago.

    Male Weight     
    Female Weight

Alcohol consumption

Men are drinking about as much as they did 20 years ago; women are drinking more.

    Male Alcohol
    Female Alcohol


Heart disease, diabetes and mental disorders have all significantly increased in men and women.

    Male Health
    Female Health

Conclusion ( comparison to twenty years ago):

Men aged 40 to 60 are:
    • more likely to be obese
    • less likely to smoke and less likely to drink alcohol (although most do)
    • more likely to suffer from a heart condition
    • more likely to be diabetic
    • more likely to report suffering from a mental health disorder

Women aged 40 to 60 are:
    • more likely to be obese;
    • less likely to smoke and less likely to drink alcohol
    • more likely to be diabetic
    • more likely to report suffering from a mental health disorder

 Researchers and medical professionals comments on the study include:

Dr Ellie Cannon, NHS Doctor and media medic, said:
Lots of us spend our lives working very hard, not sleeping enough and not always having time to exercise, so it can be really difficult to prioritise our health. But it’s vital to find out how you really are, so that you can get the advice and support you need. It’s never too late to improve your health and making small changes now can have a huge impact on your health in the future: it can even help to reverse preventable diseases. With the new year just around the corner, there’s no better time to start living better and enjoy the health benefits that will bring.

Professor Sir Muir Gray, Clinical Adviser for the One You campaign:
“The demands of modern day living are taking their toll on the health of the nation, and it’s those in middle age that are suffering the consequences most, as their health reaches worrying new levels.

Over 15 million Britons are living with a long term health condition, and busy lives and desk jobs make it difficult to live healthily. But just making a few small changes will have significant benefits to people’s health now and in later life.

We know that people often bury their heads in the sand when it comes to their general health but the consequences of doing nothing can be catastrophic. There are an estimated 11.9 million people at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the UK because of their lifestyle and more than one million who already have the condition but have not yet been diagnosed.

Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications such as amputation, blindness, heart attack, stroke and kidney disease. We know how hard it is to change the habits of a lifetime but we want people to seek the help they need to lose weight, stop smoking and take more exercise.

Dr. Joan Costa-Font of the London School of Economics:
“Typically, life in the 21st century might mean a commute into a desk-based occupation, and three or four meals a day, leading to many people consuming more calories than their lifestyles require,” said London School of Economics researcher Dr. Joan Costa-Font.

“We still eat like our parents did, or worse, but we don’t move around nearly as much as they did. People no longer have to visit each other to hold a face-to-face conversation, they can simply Skype. We jump in the car or the bus or the Tube rather than walking.

“As lifestyles have slowed down and become more sedate, people haven’t amended their calorie intake accordingly. We should all eat less.”

Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies said:
‘With being overweight now the norm in England, lifestyle choices, such as what we eat and drink, are increasingly impacting on health and people’s quality of life. There is no better time for people to start making the changes needed to live a healthier life.’

The New Year provides the perfect opportunity to change your lifestyle in order to improve your health and quality of life. If this is your goal, particularly if you are middle aged, reducing calories, reducing alcohol intake and increasing physical activity could help you achieve it.