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NSHD: Types of Data Collected

There have been 23 waves of data collected on the whole cohort between 1946 and 2010, as well as smaller collections from various sub groups.

Data on study members were collected via contacts with the study members themselves, as well as through questions answered by their parents, school teachers, school doctors and nurses, and Youth Employment Officers. Between the ages of 0 and 15, information was collected from the parent, most usually the mother. Between the ages of 5 and 15 some information was collected from the study member themselves, usually in the form of cognitive tests. From the age of 16, study members were interviewed personally.

Information has also been collected from other administrative sources. Consent was given in each case in accordance with the prevailing ethical requirements. These include:

  • Reports of hospital admissions,
  • Information on exposure to outside atmospheric pollution from birth to age 11,
  • Details of educational qualifications,
  • Notification of deaths,
  • Cancer diagnoses, and
  • Copies of mammograms for women study members (1999).

Clinic-based methods were used for the first time to collect new data from study members in the most recently-completed data collection cycle which started in 2006, when study members were 60 years old, and finished in 2011 as they reached their 65th birthday. These data include new measures of the heart, blood vessels, muscles and bones, blood, saliva and urine samples for analysis, and repeat measures of health, function and life circumstances. A description of the data collected at the most recent wave can be found in Cohort Profile: Updating the cohort profile for the MRC National Survey of Health and Development: a new clinic-based data collection for ageing research (International Journal of Epidemiology)

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