Over-40s urged to improve their own health to avoid illness as a pensioner

Picture: James Bass Copy: For: EDP News Eastern Daily Press © 2009 (01603) 772434

Picture: James Bass Copy: For: EDP News Eastern Daily Press © 2009 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2009

If you're middle-aged, you need to act now in order to get the most out of life in later years.

That's the message from Public Health England, which has launched its 'ground-breaking' One You campaign to encourage people over 40 to take more responsibility for their health.

Experts have welcomed the scheme, while local figures show thousands of people die in this region each year as a result of poor lifestyle choices.

There were 960 alcohol-related deaths in Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire in 2014, according to the most recently-available figures, while 3,323 people are estimated to have died as a result of smoking each year between 2012 and 2014.

Meanwhile nearly two thirds of adults in Norfolk are overweight or obese, despite studies showing living healthily in middle-age can double your chances of being healthy when you are 70.

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Mark Godfrey, a consultant at weight-loss organisation Slimming World, based in West Norfolk, said many middle-aged people were unaware of the health risks posed by certain foods.

'You can take small steps that make a big change on the scales,' he said.

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'Things like using less fatty mince and healthier frying oils can make a big difference.'

He said some middle-aged men were less inclined to change their lifestyle than women because they saw weight-loss and slimming as an activity associated mainly with females. 'I hope this campaign will prompt more middle-aged men to look at living healthier,' he added.

Barbara Paterson, deputy director of health and wellbeing at Public Health England, said: 'With food available at the touch of a button and access to entertainment from your sofa, it can sometimes be difficult to motivate yourself to cook a balanced meal from scratch or get out and exercise, but your health now and in later life will benefit from some small changes.'

Have you got a health story? Email nicholas.carding@archant.co.uk

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