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The Health and Employment After Fifty (HEAF) study

About the cohort

Start date: 2013-2014
Age at recruitment: 50-64 years
Sample size at recruitment: 8,140
Estimated current sample size: 6,500

The need in many countries to work longer raises important questions concerning the health risks and benefits of extended working life, its feasibility in those with problems of ageing, and how best to support and maximize the well-being of older workers. The HEAF study aims to address these questions, and to identify the main drivers of work participation and job loss at older ages as possible targets for intervention. HEAF is a prospective cohort study of older people drawn from the patient registers of 24 English general practices which contribute data to a primary care research database (the CPRD). Subjects complete annual questionnaires concerning their health, work status, perceptions about work, retirement and other factors, including changes over time; further health data will come from their own medical files through record linkage. A 5 year follow-up is planned initially.

Core funders

  • Arthritis Research UK
  • Medical Research Council
  • ESRC


Website: http://www.mrc.soton.ac.uk/cmhw/southampton-hub/research-projects-led-by-the-southampton-hub/the-heaf-study/

Principal Investigator: Professor Keith Palmer


Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit,

University of Southampton,

Southampton General Hospital,


SO16 6YD

Email: ktp@mrc.soton.ac.uk

Tel: (023) 80777624, Fax no: (023) 80704021

Page last updated: 21 Jul 2015


  • Gender: Male, Female
  • Sample size: 5,000-9,999
  • Age: 40 to 59, 60 to 100
  • Anthropometric: Height, Weight
  • Physical: Cardiovascular, Respiratory, Musculoskeletal, Hearing and vision
  • Psychological: Mental health
  • Lifestyle: Smoking, Physical activity, Alcohol
  • Socio-economic: Occupation, Finances, Family circumstances, Housing, Education, Ethnic group, Marital status, Social support