Eight out of ten middle-aged Britons either weigh too much, drink excessively or are obese, according to new analysis from Public Health England.
The study also revealed a 16% increase in the number of overweight adults in the UK in the last 20 years and that diabetes rates have doubled in 40-60 year olds.
PHE is urging people to take their “One You” quiz to see what kind of shape they are in and where they can make exercise and dietary improvements.
“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,” said Professor Sir Muir Gray, a clinical adviser for the campaign.
“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.”
Train services manager Lee Parker, 41, from Bolton, weighed 22st just five months ago but has managed to shed 5st in the space of 16 weeks since taking the quiz.
“It got to the stage where I got some new work trousers and the waist was 50in and there wasn’t even that much room for manoeuvre,” he told Sky News Online.
“It was a mixture of everything really, not exercising, eating the wrong stuff, it all built up and the end result was that I was unhappy with the shape I was in.
“I took that quiz and it was a real eye-opener. I’ve been exercising more often and watching what I eat.”
The study found that obese adults are more than five times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than those who are a healthy weight.
“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,” said Dan Howarth, head of care at Diabetes UK.
“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.”