The first Whitehall I study showed that men in the lowest employment grades were much more likely to die prematurely than men in the highest grades.
The Whitehall II study was set up by Sir Michael Marmot: University College London (UCL) to determine what underlies the social gradient in death and disease and to include women.
The study began in 1985 (non-industrial civil servants; 35 – 55, CV exam)
10,308 individuals (73%) participated in the baseline survey (66.6% men)
In addition to a medical examination all participants were sent a self-completion questionnaire, which covered a wide range of topics.
This first phase was completed in 1987, since when there have been a further six phases of data collection, alternating postal self-completion questionnaires with medical examinations and questionnaires.
Phase 7, completed in September 2004, included a medical examination. Responses were obtained from 6,914 participants (86.7% response rate). In addition to the usual cardiovascular measures - blood pressure, blood sugar, blood lipid levels, height, weight, and the cardiovascular tests – data is now available on walking, diet and cognitive functioning, as well as questions relating to retirement.
A DNA sample and data bank is being set up.
Dr Michelle Miller (Warwick/UCL)