Future impact of the NSHD
The extensive new data that were collected between 60-64 years are of particular interest to policy-makers concerned about the challenges of an ageing society. With these new data we have already provided evidence the prevalence of clinical disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, osteoporosis and 11 other common disorders) and the proportion who are free of these disorders (one in six study members) - information that is crucial for planning and delivering social and health care services to an ageing population. You can read more about these findings in Dr Mary Pierce’s paper 'Clinical disorders in a post war British cohort reaching retirement'. We are investigating who remains healthy, and how their life experiences differ from their less fortunate peers. We expect our new measures to predict how people will age in their seventh and eighth decades – and show how interventions at an earlier stage may protect those most vulnerable and enhance quality of life.
Research on NSHD may also allow us to recommend changes to health screening tools so that they provide better information about future health risk. Finally, studies involving the NSHD that reveal the links between genetic factors and markers of future disease risk have great potential for disease prevention. They can lead to new drug treatments and therapies capable of targeting underlying biological pathways before the disease is diagnosed.