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Why today's adults are '15 years older', a rise in organ donation and the 'father of IVF' dies

A round-up of the health news headlines on Thursday 11 April.

Today’s adults are so unhealthy they are 15 years ‘older’ than their parents and grandparents at the same age, the Telegraph tells us this morning.

They are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity than previous generations because of poor health, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

Looking at 6,000 adults aged 20, 30, 40 and 50 over a 25-year period, researchers found younger generations had poorer ‘metabolic’ health - a range of issues including blood pressure and weight.

But the good news today is that the number of people donating organs after death has risen 50% since 2008.

The BBC says more than 1,200 people in the UK donated their organs in the last year, leading to about 3,100 transplants.

The increase has been largely credited to the network of specialist nurses who approach and support bereaved relatives in hospitals.

But with the number of people on the organ donation register remaining unchanged, the NHS Blood and Transplant service is still asking people to sign up.

However the Guardian warns that often the wishes of people who have died are overridden by relatives. Proposals for NHS staff to prevent families overriding the wishes of people who have died while on the organ donor register are being considered by ministers amid moves to boost the number of organ transplants in the UK.

And finally the Daily Mail mourns the death of Sir Robert Edwards, the ‘father of IVF’.

Sir Robert, whose discovery helped millions of infertile couples have children, died yesterday aged 87.

Together with fellow Briton Patrick Steptoe, the Nobel Prize-winner pioneered the in-vitro fertilisation technique that led to the birth of Louise Brown, the world’s first test-tube baby, on 25 July 1978.

The birth at Oldham General Hospital captured the imagination of the world and was reported by the Daily Mail under the headline ‘And here she is … the Lovely Louise’.

With more than five million IVF babies born since, friends and colleagues said the modest Yorkshireman was a ‘true giant of the 20th century’. Around 180,000 IVF babies are born in Britain each year, thanks to Sir Robert’s discovery.

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