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'Generation X' adults from poorer families more likely to have multiple long-term conditions

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More than one in three middle-aged British adults are suffering from at least two chronic health conditions, including recurrent back problems, poor mental health, high blood pressure, diabetes and high-risk drinking, according to research that warned that health in midlife is on the decline.

The study of “generation X” adults born in 1970 found that those who grew up in poorer families were 43% more likely to have multiple long-term health conditions than their peers from wealthier households. Those who had been overweight or obese as children, who had lower birthweight and who had experienced mental ill-health as teenagers were also at increased risk of poor health in midlife.

Dawid Gondek, the UCL researcher who authored the paper, said: “This study provides concerning new evidence about the state of the nation’s health in midlife. It 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.”

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Source: The Guardian, 28 July 2021

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