Today's unhealthy adults are aging 15 years faster

An unhealthy life makes you age faster.Photo / Thinkstock
An unhealthy life makes you age faster.Photo / Thinkstock

Today's adults are so unhealthy they are 15 years 'older' than their parents and grandparents at the same age, researchers say.

They are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity than previous generations because of poor health, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Looking at 6000 adults aged 20, 30, 40, 50 over a 25 year period, researchers found younger generations had poorer 'metabolic' health - a range of issues including blood pressure and weight.

The study revealed men in their 30s were 20 per cent more likely to be overweight than in previous generations, while women in their 20s are twice as likely to be obese than those 10 years ago.

Blood pressure also increased among the younger generation of both men and women, while younger blokes are more likely to have diabetes than their dads and granddads were.

Author Gerben Hulsegge, from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, said the younger generation are "15 years ahead" in terms of 'metabolic' health.

"The more recently born adult generations are doing far worse than their predecessors," he said.

"For example, 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.

"This firstly highlights the need for a healthy body weight - by encouraging increased physical activity and balanced diet, particularly among the younger generations.

"The findings also mean that, because the prevalence of smoking in high-income countries is decreasing, we are likely to see a shift in non-communicable disease from smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer to obesity-related diseases such as diabetes.

"This decrease in smoking prevalence and improved quality of health care are now important driving forces behind the greater life expectancy of younger generations, and it's likely that in the near future life expectancy will continue to rise.

"But it's also possible that in the more distant future, as a result of our current trends in obesity, the rate of increase in life expectancy may well slow down, although it's difficult to speculate about that."

- DAILY MAIL

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