Contact Us

General enquiries:

Ms Maggie Heinrich
Whitehall II Project Manager

Study participants:

Ms Stephanie Smith
Study & Data Co-ordinator
Tel: 0800 068 1562 or
020 7679 5621
Email: or

Data sharing enquiries:

Dr Aida Sanchez
Data Manager


By combining existing 28 years of data on social inequalities and chronic disease with new clinical measures of cognitive function, mental disorders and physical functioning, Whitehall II has become a world-class, interdisciplinary study of ageing.

Current Research on Healthy Ageing


Ageing is not characterised by universal decline. Rather variations in the speed of ageing result in people of the same age becoming increasingly dissimilar in terms of cognitive capability, mental and physical health and functioning over time. Understanding the causes of this age-related individual heterogeneity and its distribution by social group is the core focus of our current work.

In addition to providing insights into individual and social differences in the development of frailty, disability, dependence, and dementia, our work enables the determination of optimal time windows and targets for interventions that maximize the potential for healthy-ageing and independent living. Our recent research highlights are:

Cognitive Ageing

The unique feature of the Whitehall II cognitive data is assessment starting at age 45, allowing us to study the social, behavioural and biological determinants of heterogeneity in cognitive decline, starting in midlife. Continued follow-up of the cohort will allow us to assess the outcomes of cognitive impairment and dementia.

Cardiometabolic health

Whitehall II has collected an unrivalled set of multiple repeat measures over 30 years of follow-up, complementing our cardiovascular morbidity and mortality follow-up. For example, blood pressure and body mass index have been measured on 6 occasions and oral glucose tolerance on 4 occasions. Our longitudinal studies of diabetes development have attracted much attention. The causes and consequences of aortic stiffening is a novel focus of our cardiometabolic research, which is also relevant to those interested in interventions to reduce vascular ageing. Whitehall II is now collecting (2015) the third measurement of carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity.

Physical Functioning and Mental Health

A major aim of our research is to identify midlife risk factors and protective factors for old-age functional limitations and depression. In addition to social circumstances, lifestyle and chronic diseases, we examine the role of biological factors, such as low-grade inflammation, in predicting functioning and mental well-being at older ages.

Socioeconomic and occupational stressors

Biological, environmental and lifestyle factors explaining differences in health between people from different socioeconomic circumstances have been a key research area for Whitehall II since the beginning of the study. Our findings have had a strong impact on health policy nationally and internationally. To understand the health effects of workplace factors, such as work stress, we have combined data from Whitehall II to those from other cohort studies.

Page last modified on 17 nov 15 14:13