Weight - a health worry for over 50s
The study by Saga Health Insurance shows that 52% of the UKs over 50s say they are overweight, compared to 40% of people under 50, and a further one in ten feel that they are very overweight.
When it comes to exercising just one in 10 over 50s exercises for the recommended five times a week and a third (33%) say they do no exercise at all.
It’s not just the over 50s who are lacking in exercise - 29% of all adults say they do no exercise in an average week.
The reasons people give for not exercising are really quite striking; 31% of over 50s say it’s because they have no motivation, a fifth (22%) say they're simply too lazy and one in ten (12%) say they have no time.
Whilst 37% of over 50s who don't exercise say it’s because they are physically unable to, 30% of 18-24s say it’s because they 're too self-conscious.
Best feet forward
Typically, those that do exercise, do so once or twice a week for less than 30 minutes.
The most popular form of exercise in the UK is walking, 55% say they have gone for a walk at least once in the last month. Other favourite sports among over 50s are swimming (13%) and cycling (10%).
Of those that do exercise, three quarters (74%) of over 50s do so to improve their health & fitness, 45% to control or lose weight and 28% of over 65s exercise for fun.
Five a day
Of course being overweight is not just about exercise – it’s also about what you consume.
When it comes to healthy eating, over 50s are much better than younger people. A third (32%) of over 50s eat the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, compared to just a fifth (17%) of under 50s.
A significant number of over 50s however still like to have a drink and a cigarette.
A fifth (21%) of over 50s say they smoke.
On average over 50s in the UK drink 9.5 units of alcohol a week, with men (11.7units) much more likely to drink than women (4.7 units). One in seven (14%) over 50s drink more than 21 units of alcohol a week.
The recommended safe limit for alcohol consumption is no more than 21 units a week for men and 14 for women.
Roger Ramsden, Chief Executive, Saga Services said, "Clearly there is still more to be done to improve healthy lifestyles across the UK, whilst the over 50s tend to get it right with healthy eating, what they appear to need is something to motivate them to exercise."
This is where the free, online Saga Health Club can help. All you have to do is fill out a simple questionnaire about your health, family history, eating and exercise habits. The health club can then provide a 12 week action plan and regular updates with useful information on exercise and nutrition tips aimed at minimising the risk of developing diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
*Populus interviewed 2,048 adults online between 11th and 13th May 2012. 960 respondents were over 50, and 488 were retired. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.