Healthy ageing has long been a neglected area of epidemiological research as the traditional focus has been on specific chronic diseases of older life. There is a growing consensus from scientists, research funders and policy makers that ageing itself needs to be studied from an interdisciplinary and life course perspective, to inform strategies for reducing the societal and individual costs of an ageing population. A Life Course Approach to Healthy Ageing is a synthesis of life course perspectives in epidemiology and interdisciplinary perspectives in ageing research. It brings together expert investigators of maturing birth cohort and ageing studies, cross-cutting methodologists, and authorities in ageing research and knowledge transfer from across the world in one wide-ranging volume. Contributors discuss how aspects of healthy ageing are conceptualised, defined and measured; relate to each other; change across life; and are influenced by biological, psychological and social factors operating from early life onwards.
They identify research gaps, and suggest how evidence from observational studies can be strengthened through improved study design and longitudinal analysis, thereby increasing the research contribution to practice or policy change. The book considers how we might delay or slow down the progressive, generalised impairment of function that occurs at the individual, body system and cellular levels, as people grow older. It also considers the determinants of wellbeing in older people, including personal fulfilment, positive emotions and social relationships. Broad in scope, discussing topics from genetics to psychological and social wellbeing, A Life Course Approach to Healthy Ageing is a key resource for epidemiologists, social scientists, clinicians, public health physicians, policy makers and practitioners with a research interest in healthy ageing.
Diana Kuh, Professor of Life Course Epidemiology, is the director of the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing, and the MRC National Survey of Health and Development, the oldest of the British birth cohort studies that has followed up over 5000 individuals since their birth in March 1946. Diana is also the principal investigator of the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon) research collaboration and co-Director of an NIH programme on the Integrative Analysis of Longitudinal Studies of Ageing (IALSA) that brings together cohort studies to investigate lifetime influences on ageing. Diana has been at the forefront of a life course approach to epidemiology, both at a theoretical and empirical level. Rachel Cooper is a Senior Lecturer developing a research programme at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL. Rachel has a BA in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford, an MSc in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and a PhD in Epidemiology from University College London. Rachel has experience of using data from a range of longitudinal studies to address research questions which have a life course perspective and has worked on the MRC National Survey of Health and Development since 2003. Since 2007 Rachel's primary focus has been on the unit's physical capability and musculoskeletal ageing programme and she has been heavily involved in the study of these measures across cohorts as part of the HALYcon research collaboration. Rachel is interested in all aspects of life course epidemiology and in applying this approach to the study of healthy ageing. Rebecca Hardy is Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics and leads the Cardiovascular Ageing programme at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL. Her programme investigating the biological and social life course influences on cardiovascular ageing and the development of cardiovascular disease using data from the MRC National Survey of Health and Development and other cohort studies. She also has an interest in the methodology for the analysis of life course data and for cross-cohort comparisons. Marcus Richards is a Professor of Psychology in Epidemiology and leads the Mental Ageing research programme at the MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL. Marcus read Experimental Psychology at Oxford University, and obtained a PhD at London University in the physiology of human learning. He has held appointments at Columbia University in New York and King's College London Institute of Psychiatry to conduct research into neurodegenerative diseases of ageing, and was one of the first recipients of an Alzheimer's Society Research Fellowship. He joined the MRC National Survey of Health and Development team in 1996, where his work is primarily focused on developing a life course approach to mental ageing and its integration with physical health and function. Yoav Ben-Shlomo is a Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and has been at the forefront of a life course approach to epidemiology both at a theoretical and empirical level. He is involved with several cohort studies and has interests in ageing, neurodegenerative disorders, endocrine influences on health and equity of access to health care.
PART I. THE LIFE COURSE PERSPECTIVE ON HEALTHY AGEING; PART II. METHODS FOR STUDYING AGEING FROM A LIFE COURSE AND INTERDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE; PART III. HEALTHY AGEING IN BODY SYSTEMS, ORGANS AND CELLS; PART IV. THE WAY WE LIVE