Economic, health worries make 35 the new 40

Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:35pm EST
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Worries about the economy and healthcare are pushing people into middle age earlier, making 35 the new 40, according to a new report.

Research by the Philips Center for Health and Well-Being showed that 40 was previously widely considered as the milestone that defined middle age but this has been lowered to 35.

"Thirty five is the new 40 as Americans feel the pressures of middle age earlier than ever," the Amsterdam-based center said in a statement.

Katy Hartley, the director of the center which aims to improve quality of life, said stress about the economy and healthcare that you would typically associate with turning 40 is starting at a younger age.

"The data suggests the new age for middle age is 35," she said in an interview.

Nearly 80 percent of 35 year olds questioned for the Philips Index said they were concerned about the economy, and three-quarters were also worried about healthcare. These stresses, according to the study, have contributed to the feeling of early onset of middle age or the loss of five years of youth.

The report showed the economy topped the list of stressors for most Americans at 74 percent which was nearly double from a 2004 survey. A nearly equal amount said they feel positive about their overall health and well-being.

But many Americans may not be realistic about their health.   Continued...

<p>A man crosses a street in the rain in New York, April 20, 2009. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>