Associations with successful ageing in the "Healthy Old People in Edinburgh" cohort: Being well, fit and healthy

John Starr, I J Deary, S Macintyre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: Six hundred and three community-resident, healthy, unmedicated people aged 70 years and over had psychometric testing and blood pressure measured in 1990-1. Participants were followed up in 1994-5, 1997-8 and in this fourth wave of the project, 1999-2000, to determine key predictors of, and associations with successful ageing. Methods: Current status of all cohort participants was determined. Those traced and alive were invited for re-assessment. Those who agreed underwent psychometric testing, including memory and fluid intelligence tests, a number of physiological measurements, including blood pressure, grip strength and respiratory function, and questionnaires were administered enquiring about disability, self-esteem, and a range of socioeconomic and socioenvironmental items. Results: At Wave 4, 201 participants were visited and re-tested adequately. During follow-up, mortality (N=210) was predicted by gender, occupation, pre-morbid intelligence and blood pressure. Disability related to age, weight, respiratory function, grip strength and current mental ability. A model of health was developed that comprised dimensions of medical wellbeing (absence of disease), physiological fitness and self-perceived health. The latter related strongly to disability and pre-morbid intelligence. Except for memory score at Wave 3, medical well-being related poorly to any predictor variable from Waves 1-3. Physiological fitness related to age, gender and current mental ability. Conclusions: The concept of successful ageing is complex, but this cohort of older people related their perceived health closely to lack of disability. In this cohort, current socioeconomic and socioenvironmental factors were not strongly linked with health at this age. ((C))2003, Editrice Kurtis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-342
Number of pages7
JournalAging Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2003


  • disability
  • functional independence
  • older people
  • predictors of mortality
  • pre-morbid intelligence
  • self-perceived health
  • successful ageing
  • AGE


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