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PruHealth discovers the young are being hit hardest by the strains of modern life


PruHealth has revealed that the old adage of ’being over the hill’ in later life may need to be revised as it seems the stresses and strains of modern life are hitting the younger generation the hardest.

The latest research from PruHealth, the health insurance provider that rewards policyholders for being healthy, has found that today’s 20-somethings feel three years older than their birth certificate states and the average 30-something feels their actual age, but the average Brit aged 40+ feels 11.5 years younger than their actual age.*

However, 20-30 somethings seem to have energy levels closer to those of retirees. More people in their 20s and 30s have a dip in their energy levels throughout the course of the day than any other age group, while 12% of 30-somethings don’t feel energetic at any point during the day at all - compared with only 6% of people in their 60s.

The research highlights how people in their 20s and 30s live unhealthier lifestyles than those in their 40s and 50s, which could be the reason for the younger generation’s sluggish energy levels and feeling older than their years. The top three reasons for lower energy levels were identified as an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and not getting enough sleep. However, little action appears to be being taken to counteract this with only 47% saying they eat a balanced diet, 18% never exercise, and a quarter sleep for less than 6 hours a night.

The older generation tends to follow a more balanced diet, eats less unhealthy foods such as takeaways, and participates in a similar level of exercise compared with the younger generation. However, as the over 40s require less calories than the under 40s** this could be the key to their youthfulness.

Interestingly, people of all ages who feel younger than their real age are more likely to feel most energetic in the morning, while those who experience a peak in energy levels in the afternoon are more likely to feel older than their actual age.

Shaun Matisonn, CEO, PruHealth, said: "While it’s wonderful to see that the older we get, the better we feel, the energy levels of those under 40 clearly needs more attention. This age group need to get more exercise - and more sleep - eat healthily and follow more active lifestyles to help boost their energy levels.

“Finding time in your 30s to exercise and eat healthily can be especially difficult while you’re juggling a career and looking after a young family, but incorporating small steps in your daily routine, such as getting off the bus a stop early and snacking on fruit rather than crisps, can help make all the difference.”

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Notes to Editors:
* Online poll carried out on behalf of PruHealth by Opinium Research LLP with 2,004 British adults on 14-18 August 2009. Results weighted to nationally representative criteria.

** The NHS advises older people may need to eat less than they used to if they are less active. Direct Gov states a major reason for age-related weight gain is the slowdown of metabolic rates.

About PruHealth:
PruHealth was launched in October 2004 as a joint venture between Prudential and Discovery Holdings the private healthcare provider from South Africa. PruHealth now covers over 210,000 lives and in a sample of customers, one third said they had changed their behaviour for the better because of its Vitality reward scheme which encourages policyholders to look after their health.

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Izabella Siemicka
PR Manager
Prudential UK Insurance Operations
3 Sheldon Square
W2 6PR


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