NIA renews Harvard Pop Center’s longitudinal study on health and aging in South Africa

We are pleased to announce that the National Institute of Aging (NIA) has renewed one of the HCPDS’s signature studies, Health and Aging in Africa: A Longitudinal Study of an INDEPTH Community in South Africa” (HAALSI). The study, a collaboration with the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa, began in 2014 with baseline data collection in a community-based cohort of 5,059 women and men aged 40 and older in Agincourt, South Africa. The study site is part of the International Network for the Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health in Developing Countries (INDEPTH). In partnership with Wits and the INDEPTH Network, the next five years will include collecting two more waves of follow-up data. The expansive study will provide longitudinal data to examine the biological, social, and economic conditions that shape health and aging in this population.

The study design is finely tuned to capture characteristics specific to South Africa, as well as to harmonize with sister Health and Retirement Studies in the U.S., India, Mexico, the UK, and Europe, providing a unique opportunity to conduct cross-country comparisons of the biological, social, and economic determinants of chronic diseases and their effects on functional and health outcomes in aging populations. Such cross-country harmonized comparisons will enable scientists to identify new risk factors and understand the impact of known risk factors on a global scale. HAALSI will inform the current debate about whether “standard” risk factors in highly industrialized Western countries have the same effects on health outcomes in non-Western, low-income countries.

For more detailed information on HAALSI, visit the project website.