I had to laugh when I read the headlines in the British press today:
“Average 50-something fitter than 25-year-old, study claims”
“How the average 50-year-old is healthier than someone half their age”
“50-year-olds are fitter and healthier than 25-year-olds, claims new study”
I don’t know about you, dear MinnPost reader, but even though I pretty much practice what I preach (eat a fairly healthful diet and exercise daily), my 20-something children could easily leave me in the dust if we were to set out on a 5K run today. Yes, that includes my daughter, who gave birth just three weeks ago.
They have youth on their side.
That’s not to say there aren’t 50-somethings out there who could outrun my children. And, as I know from running races, I can outpace some people half my age.
But is the average 50-something fitter than the average 20-something? I doubt it.
And, indeed, that’s not what the “study” (which was really a survey commissioned by a herbal supplement company) found. It did not attempt to determine anybody’s health status.
What the survey actually revealed was the not-so-shocking fact that middle-aged people tend, on average, to pay more attention to their health than their younger peers. And why wouldn’t we? We’re more aware that the clock is ticking.
Here are some of the findings from the survey (which involved 4,000 people, aged 16 to 80), as reported in the Scottish Daily Record:
The average 25-year-old in Britain consumes more than 2,300 calories a day, exercises only three times a week and scoffs 12 types of junk food a month.
But the typical 50-year-old has only 1,990 calories each day, does at least four forms of exercise and treats themselves to just one piece of junk food each week.
And while those in their mid-20s have three takeaways a month, the older generation have only one.
But I was more intrigued by a couple of other findings:
• More than 25 percent of all the Brits surveyed said they bicycled to see friends or to go shopping.
• Almost 4 in 10 of the respondents said they walked either all the way to work or part of the way (to a train station).
(Compare that last figure to a 2005 U.S. Census Bureau analysis that found 9 out of 10 Americans drive to work.)
So what do you think? Are the 50-somethings in your life fitter than the 20-somethings?