The Whitehall II Study was established in 1985 to investigate the importance of socioeconomic circumstances for health by following a cohort of working men and women aged 35-55 at enrolment. Participants have taken part in twelve data collection phases, seven of which have included a medical screening. The aim of the study is to understand the causes of age-related heterogeneity in health.
By combining the existing 30 years of data on social circumstances, risk factors and chronic disease with new clinical measures of cognitive function, mental disorders and physical functioning, Whitehall II has been transformed interdisciplinary study of ageing. In addition to providing insights into individual and social differences in the development of frailty, disability, dependence, and dementia, the study helps in the determination of optimal time windows and targets for interventions that maximise the potential for healthy-ageing and independent living.