The Whitehall II study – can controlling heart disease risk factors result in healthy aging?

Award Number
Chairs & Programme Grants
Status / Stage
4 January 2013 -
4 January 2017
Duration (calculated)
04 years 00 months
British Heart Foundation (BHF)
Funding Amount
Funder/Grant study page
British Heart Foundation
Contracted Centre
University College London
Principal Investigator
Professor Eric Brunner
PI Contact
WHO Catergories
Understanding risk factors
Disease Type
Dementia (Unspecified)

CPEC Review Info
Reference ID619
ResearcherReside Team


Award NumberRG/13/2/30098
Status / StageCompleted
Start Date20130104
End Date20170104
Duration (calculated) 04 years 00 months
Funder/Grant study pageBritish Heart Foundation
Contracted CentreUniversity College London
Funding Amount£1,207,945.00

Plain English Summary

Since 1985, the Whitehall II study has followed the health and wellbeing of over 10,000 civil service workers. Part-funded by the BHF, it has shaped our understanding of the social causes of heart disease, including revealing that people in top jobs tend to remain in good health, and those in unskilled low status jobs tend to develop bad health, such as heart disease and diabetes. People taking part in the study are now aged between 61 and 88 years. Researchers at University College London want to find out what factors are important in healthy ageing, and how they could avoid conditions like dementia. It is possible that risk factors for heart disease may determine how quickly older people decline and controlling risk factors could prevent around half of dementia cases. The BHF has awarded funding to Professor Eric Brunner and colleagues to study heart disease risk factors (taking into account social factors) and find out if controlling them can help people to be healthier for longer. As well as known factors like cholesterol and blood pressure, they will study if other factors such as stiffness of the aorta (the main artery pumping blood around the body) can predict how other body organs decline over time. This work may reveal ways to help people live a healthy life into their 80s and 90s, and also help shape public health policies for elderly people in the future.