About the NSHD
The NSHD has informed UK health care,
education and social policy for more than 50 years and is the
oldest and longest running of the British birth cohort studies.
Today, with study members in their sixties, the NSHD offers a
unique opportunity to explore the long-term biological and social
processes of ageing and how ageing is affected by factors acting
across the whole of life.
From an initial maternity survey of 13,687 of
all births recorded in England, Scotland and Wales during one week
of March, 1946, a socially stratified sample of 5,362 singleton
babies born to married parents was selected for follow-up. This
sample comprises the NSHD cohort and participants have been studied
During their childhood, the main aim of the
NSHD was to investigate how the environment at home and at school
affected physical and mental development and educational
attainment. During adulthood, the main aim was to investigate how
childhood health and development and lifetime social circumstances
affected their adult health and function and how these change with
age. Now, as participants reach retirement, the research team is
developing the NSHD into a life course study of ageing.
The NSHD is one of nine cohort studies
included in the Healthy Ageing across the Life Course (HALCyon)
collaborative research programme which aims to improve the lives of
older people through a better understanding of how healthy ageing
is affected by social, psychological and biological factors acting
across the whole of life (http://www.halcyon.ac.uk/).