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Looking towards the future, the study seeks to answer questions about how previous and current circumstances affect health and quality of life in an ageing cohort. The study is currently funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), British Heart Foundation (BHF), the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI; USA) and the National Institute of Ageing (NIA; USA).

Main Topics/Subject Category
Household composition and relationships, housing tenure, nationality, ethnicity and residential history, employment and training (including government schemes), workplace and location, job hunting, educational background and qualifications.
United Kingdom, academic achievement, advanced level examinations, advanced supplementary level examinations, age, application for employment, appointment to job, attitudes, bonus payments, business and technology education council awards, businesses, cardiovascular diseases, care of dependants, certificate of secondary education, certificate of sixth year studies, children, chronic illness, city and guilds of london institute awards, cohabitation, conditions of employment, debilitative illness, degrees, depression, diabetes, digestive system disorders, disabilities, economic activity, educational background, educational certificates, educational courses, employees, employer-sponsored training, employment, employment history, employment programmes, endocrine disorders, epilepsy, ethnic groups, families, family members, fields of study, full-time employment, furnished accommodation, gender, general certificate of secondary education, general national vocational qualification, general scottish vocational qualification, heads of household, health, hearing impairments, higher education, higher national certificate/diploma, home buying, home ownership, households, housing, housing tenure, income, industries, job changing, job hunting, job seeker's allowance, landlords, learning disabilities, managers, marital status, mental disorders, musculoskeletal diseases, national identity, national vocational qualification, nationality, nervous system diseases, occupational qualifications, occupations, ordinary level examinations, ordinary national certificate/diploma, overtime, part-time courses, part-time employment, place of residence, private sector, public sector, qualifications, recruitment, redundancy, redundancy pay, religious affiliation, rented accommodation, residential mobility, respiratory tract diseases, royal society of arts awards, scottish certificate of education, scottish vocational education council awards, scottish vocational qualification, self-employed, sick leave, skin diseases, social housing, social security benefits, socio-economic status, speech impairments, state retirement pensions, students, subsidiary employment, supervisors, supervisory status, tax relief, temporary employment, termination of service, tied housing, training, training courses, unemployed, unemployment, unfurnished accommodation, vision impairments, vocational education certificates, wages, Welsh (language), working conditions, working time, workplace
Identifier Variables
Area of Health System
Public health
Data Available
Risk behaviours, Socio-economic, Demographic
Data collecting organization (s)
Office for National Statistics
Data Type
Survey (cross-sectional)
Coverage (date of field work)
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
Unit of Analysis

351,647 persons resident in the UK in private households, and young people living away from the parental home in student halls of residence or similar institutions during term time in 2008

ESDS Government, UK Data Archive
Conditions of Access
Free registration access
Carstensen M, et al. Accelerated increase in serum interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) starts 6 years before diagnosis of type 2 diabetes: Whitehall II prospective cohort study. Diabetes (in press)