One third of adults have multiple chronic health conditions

Latest results from a long running research project have shown that one third of middle aged people have multiple chronic health conditions.

The 1970 British Cohort Study has been following the lives of around 17,000 people born during a single week in 1970.  It is collecting information on a range of factors, including the health, physical, social and educational development and economic circumstances of the participants, at regular intervals through their lives.

The latest research has shown that one third of the participants, who were in their late 40s when last monitored, have 2 or more chronic health conditions such as chronic back pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, high risk drinking and mental ill health. Of the 8,000 participants surveyed 34% had more than one health problem with 26% regularly drinking at a high risk level, 21% having chronic back problems and 19% reporting mental health problems. High blood pressure was seen in 16% of the participants, 12% have asthma or bronchitis and 8% have arthritis. Lastly, 5% of the participants have diabetes.

The adults who grew up in poorer families were at 43% greater risk of having multiple health issues now compared to those who come from a more privileged background. The research also found links between being above a healthy weight as a child and those who experienced mental ill health in adolescence were at greater risk of ill health as an adult.

The research indicates that the health of the middle aged population appears to be declining compared to previous generations with childhood health and circumstances being a strong indicator for health as an adult.

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One third of adults have multiple chronic health conditions