Well - maybe a bit of an exaggeration but an international study of mental health and happiness shows that the risk of depression was lowest in younger and older people, with the middle-aged years associated with the highest risk for both men and women. Previous research has suggested that the risk of unhappiness and depression stays relatively constant throughout life.However, the latest finding - of a peak risk in middle age - was consistent around the globe, and in all types of people. In the UK 44 is the age that we are most likely to be depressed.
Researcher Professor Andrew Oswald, an economist at the University of Warwick, said: "It happens to men and women, to single and married people, to rich and poor, and to those with and without children."
He said the reason why middle age was a universally vulnerable time was unclear.Professor Oswald said for the average person, the dip in mental health and happiness comes on slowly, not suddenly in a single year.Only in their 50s do most people emerge from the low period.
"But encouragingly, by the time you are 70, if you are still physically fit then on average you are as happy and mentally healthy as a 20-year-old".