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Over-50s at risk as 80pc are too heavy

EIGHT out of 10 people in this country who are over the age of 50 are overweight.

Problem-drinking, serious falls requiring medical treatment, and regularly taking five or more prescribed medications are all problems for this age group.

A new report also found, however, that 44pc of people of this age report their health is "excellent" or "very good".

Married people have the highest quality of life and those who care for their grandchildren for at least one hour a week (35pc) also have a higher quality of life.

The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (Tilda) is a national survey of more than 8,000 people aged 50 and over.

DISEASE

The study found that 35pc of this group were obese and a further 44pc were overweight, putting them at a much increased risk of metabolic and heart disease.

High blood pressure (37pc) and diabetes (9pc) are the most common conditions and arthritis now affects 51pc of those over 75 years of age.

Problem drinking had increased for both men and women – from 17pc to 22pc in men and from 8pc to 11pc in women. The amount who were on five or more regular medications was up from 21pc to 26pc.

One in 10 of the over 50s have fallen in the past year with their injuries requiring treatment.

ALCOHOL

On the plus side, 16pc of smokers had quit since the previous study, with a notable drop in the numbers over 65 years of age. A significant proportion of men who were obese in the first study had since reduced their alcohol intake.

Minister for Health James Reilly voiced concerns about the health of the over-50s.

"I am encouraged by some of the findings in this report, particularly those that show that, in general, the over-50s enjoy a good quality of life and report their health as excellent or very good," he said.

"However, I am also struck by worrying trends, particularly the levels of non-communicable diseases and their co-morbidities" with the level of overweight "another cause for concern".

csheehy@herald.ie


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