The 2-page handout

The reading

For the past 100 years, people believed middle age to be around 50 years old. This is when we start to grow 'old'. However, new research says we have to change this. A study from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIAS) in Austria and Stony Brook University in New York say middle age now starts at 60 or even 65, or older. Why? The biggest reason is that we are living longer. We are also healthier, we have better diets, we exercise more and we have more money to live a nicer lifestyle. The IIAS said: "Since life expectancies have increased over the past several decades, and are continuing to increase, people once considered 'old' should actually be viewed as more middle aged."

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The study was not a worldwide one so perhaps not everyone in all countries can say they are middle aged when they are 65. The researchers looked at populations in 39 European countries, so this is good news for Europeans. Britain's National Health Service warned against looking at this study and believing it to be 100 per cent true. It said the researchers did not look at things which could reduce life expectancy: "We don't know whether, for example, they factored in the possible impact of being unable to treat infections because of rising antibiotic resistance, or the increased numbers of people with diabetes due to obesity." It recommended healthy living, eating and exercise as a way to live longer.



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