The majority of middle aged adults are living unhealthily, Public Health England (PHE) has revealed.
To tackle the problem, it has launched a campaign called ‘One You’ to inspire healthier lifestyles in 2017.
People are being urged to take a moment to consider their health and the simple steps they can take to improve it by taking the ‘How Are You’ online quiz.
PHE’s ‘One You’ campaign targets the 83% of 40 to 60-year-olds (87% of men and 79% of women) who are either overweight or obese, exceed the Chief Medical Officer’s alcohol guidelines or are physically inactive.
It hopes to provide free support and tools to help them live more healthily in 2017 and beyond.
People need to eat better, be more active, stop smoking and consider their drinking, PHE said.
It blamed ‘modern life’ for harming the health of the nation.
Roughly 77% of men and 63% of women in middle age are overweight or obese. Meanwhile obesity in adults has shot up 16% in the last 20 years.
According to PHE, many middle aged adults can’t identify what a ‘healthy’ body looks like, suggesting obesity has become the new normal.
The diabetes rate among this age group has also doubled in England.
Professor Sir Muir Gray, clinical adviser for the One You campaign, said: “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.”
PHE’s quiz, called ‘How Are You’, accumulates lifestyle information and then gives users a health score based on this information. It then links to free localised, personalisable information, apps and tools.
More than 1.1 million people have taken the quiz so far and, where appropriate, have been directed to download apps like Couch to 5K, Alcohol Checker and Easy Meals.
Nearly a quarter of a million people have subsequently downloaded Couch to 5K.
Professor Kevin Fenton, director of Health and Wellbeing at PHE, said: “People are busy with work, with families, with the daily grind and sometimes their own health is the least of their priorities.
“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.”