Cohort Profile: Better Health in Late Life

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PURPOSE: Humans are living longer and may develop multiple chronic diseases in later life. The Better Health in Late Life cohort study aims to improve our understanding of the risks and outcomes of multimorbidity in the Danish population.

METHODS: A randomly-selected sample of Danish residents who were 50-65 years of age received a questionnaire and an invitation to participate in this study. Respondents completed an online survey between October 2021 and January 2022 which addressed topics that included self-assessed health, mental health, sleep, specific medical conditions, use of painkillers, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, physical activity, and body composition. This information was linked to the Danish health and social registries (some established in 1943 and onwards) that maintain data on filled prescriptions, hospital records, socioeconomic status, and health care utilization.

RESULTS: Responses were received from 115,431 of the 301,244 residents invited to participate (38%). We excluded respondents who answered none of the questions as well as those who provided no information on sex or indicated an age other than 50-65 years. Of the 114,283 eligible respondents, 54.8% were female, 30.3% were overweight, and 16.7% were obese. Most participants reported a weekly alcohol consumption of less than seven units and 13.3% were current smokers; 5.2% had a history of hospitalization for solid cancer, and 3.0%, 2.3%, 2.0%, and 0.9% reported chronic pulmonary disease, diabetes, stroke, and myocardial infarction, respectively. The most frequently filled prescriptions were for medications used to treat the nervous system and cardiovascular diseases (38.1% and 37.4%, respectively).

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical epidemiology
Pages (from-to)1227-1239
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • aging
  • epidemiology
  • health registries
  • life course epidemiology
  • multimorbidity
  • prospective cohort


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