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Description of study

Wave I: baseline data collection was carried out in 2002-2005 with a total of 29,847 men and women aged 45-69 years recruited in Russia, Poland, and the Czech Republic,The baseline survey was funded by Wellcome Trust and McArthur Foundation.

Wave II: was carried out in 2006-2008. The cohort was extended to include Lithuania, and measures of healthy aging and economic well-being were added. This second phase of data collection was funded by the National Institute of Aging.


The baseline survey was conducted in Novosibirsk (Russia), Krakow (Poland), 6 cities of the Czech Republic (Hradec Kralove, Jihlava, Karvina, Kromeriz, Liberec and Usti nad Labem) and Kaunas (Lithuania). Novosibirsk, the third largest Russian city (population 1.3 million), is the capital and major industrial of western Siberia. Despite its Siberian location, Novosibirsk is a Russian city; in terms of its social development, health and behaviours it is considered fairly typical for urban population in Russia. Two city districts with different social profiles (Oktyabrski and Kirovski) were selected for the study. Krakow is an industrial centre of South-west Poland (population about 1 million). As a whole, Krakow is more prosperous than Polish average but for the study we selected four different city districts ranging from blue-collar workers to "middle-class" district in the city centre. The six Czech cities (total population of about 600,000) vary in their social profile; for example, Karvina is a formerly mining town with the highest unemployment in the country (19.6% in January 2003) while Hradec Kralove is a prosperous city with a services- and trade-based economy (unemployment 6.5%). Kaunas is the second largest Lithuanian city located in the centre of the country.

Study design

The study was designed as a cohort study. The baseline survey was completed in 2005, after which participants have been followed up for mortality, using routine death registers, and for changes in health status, using postal questionnaires. In Novosibirsk, in addition, incidence of coronary heart disease and stroke is collected using existing "hot pursuit" registers set up as part of the WHO MONICA Project. The second wave of data collection was 2006-2008. Present funding for follow up is available until 2012 but we wish to continue the follow up beyond this date.


In each country, 10,000 men and women (7,000 in Lithuania) aged 45-69 years were randomly selected from local population registers and invited to participate in the study. The sample was stratified by 5-year age group, so there equal number of persons in each age group was invited to participate. The study has currently recruited about 35,000 subjects (across all four centres).

Data collected

Wave I: baseline data were collected by questionnaire, short medical examination, and blood sample. In Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic, participants were first visited and interviewed at home and then invited to visit a clinic. In Russia, all participants are interviewed and examined at clinic. The structured questionnaire covered current and childhood socio-economic circumstances; history of cardiovascular disease and 14 other chronic conditions; physical functioning (from SF36); health behaviours included a detailed food frequency questionnaire and graduated frequency questionnaire on alcohol consumption; history of alcohol related problems (including the CAGE questionnaire and a list of negative consequences of drinking); the CES-D depression scale; perceived control over life and further psychosocial factors. Working subjects completed a special module on work characteristics, and retired subjects completed a brief module on retirement and quality of life (CASP 19). The examination included measurement of height, weight, trunk length, waist and hip circumferences, blood pressure, and respiratory and cognitive functions. Blood samples were processed, divided into aliquots (10 per person) and stored frozen (at -80 C) for subsequent laboratory analysis of blood lipids, inflammatory markers, markers of glucose metabolism, homocysteneine and vitamins. DNA material is also being stored.

Wave II: data were collected by face-to-face Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) using Blaise 4.6 software (Statistics Netherlands). The generic version of the CAPI program is in English, but all questions have been forward and backward translated into each language to ensure consistency of questions in all countries.

The ageing-related outcomes include: cognitive functions (as in baseline), physical functioning, activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), walk speed, chair rise and grip strength; quality of life (12-item CASP questionnaire and social participation. The walk speed test records the time to walk a distance of 2m at usual speed, while the chair rise test records the time to stand up and sit down 5 times without using their arms. A Scandidact dynamometer is used to measure the maximum grip strength of each hand.

The economics measures include details on retirement; household composition; formal and informal household income; household wealth; and expectations of future pensions. In Lithuania, baseline data collection and collection of additional data on healthy ageing and economic well-being are being collected simultaneously. The re-examination was designed in such a way that the data on ageing and economics will be directly comparable with the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, the Study of Healthy Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), and Health and Retirement Study (HRS) in the USA.



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