MRC NSHD 2006 – 2012 Muscle and Bone Specialist Data

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DOI 10.552/NSHD/Q102 Is part of
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  • Kuh, Diana – MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL
  • Adams, Judith – Central Manchester University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester
  • Cooper, Cyrus – MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton
  • Prentice, Ann – MRC Human Nutrition Research
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  • Medical Research Council
  • Machin, Mike – Central Manchester University Hospital’s NHS Foundation Trust,  Manchester
  • Ward, Kate – MRC Human Nutrition Research
  • Bell, John
  • Edwards, Mark – MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton
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MRC Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at UCL

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  • Birth Cohort
  • Life course
  • Epidemiology
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clinical data; observational data; survey data;



The MRC National Survey of Health and Development (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 seventies, 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 5362 births recorded in England, Scotland and Wales during one week of March 1946, a socially stratified sample of singleton babies born to married parents was selected for follow-up. These participants have been studied over twenty times throughout their life.
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 their change with age. Now, as participants have reached retirement, the research team is developing the NSHD into a life course study of ageing.
Study members were asked to attend a clinic at age 60-64 for a range of assessments (or alternatively have a home visit). 792 men and 866 women who attended clinics were given DXA scans to assess muscle and bone health. These scans included Total Body DXA, Hip and Spine DXA, Single and Dual Energy Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA), and pQCT of the forearm at 4% and 50% levels.


The LHA supports the core principles of the MRC with regard to data sharing and is committed to sharing NSHD data with bona fide researchers for high quality research projects. Data requests should be submitted via the existing NSHD research governance arrangements. See for details.