The survey sample is drawn from respondents to the Health Survey for England (HSE) - a study conducted jointly by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, UCL, and the National Centre for Social Research, on behalf of the Department of Health. Around 12,000 respondents from three separate years of the HSE survey were recruited to provide a representative sample of the English population aged 50 and over.

The initial sample is of individuals aged 50 years and over resident in the household sector in England. The major advantage of the HSE sampling source is that baseline data on respondents' health (details of morbidity, lifestyle, diets and blood samples) had already been collected before the first wave of data collection began.

The table shows the breakdown of the Wave 1 sample by age and sex.

Achieved sample, including new and younger partners, by age and sex, 2002-03

Age band (years) at wave 1 Male Female
Under 50 104 472
50–54 920 1156
55–59 1030 1171
60–64 813 883
65–69 806 912
70–74 680 797
75–79 498 596
80+ 485 777
Total 5336 6764


The numbers of achieved core members at each wave are shown below.

Number of achieved core members at each wave

Original sample W3 refreshment sample W4 refreshment sample Nurse visit
Wave 1 11,392 N/A
Wave 2 8,781 7,663
Wave 3 7,535 1,276 (inc sample in missing year) N/A
Life history interview 6,173 876 N/A
Wave 4 6,560 1,219 2,042 8,218

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