45 and Up Study surveys set to boost COVID-19 research

Australia’s largest longitudinal study is rolling out a series of surveys to help answer some of the most pressing questions about the impact of COVID-19, funded by a NSW Ministry of Health grant.

Sax Institute Deputy CEO Dr Martin McNamara says the grant will generate new evidence about the health and wellbeing of older Australians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the next six months, over 60,000 participants from the 45 and Up Study will be regularly surveyed to gain a real-time snapshot of health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic – data that will help guide policy and health services in the coming months.

Sax Institute Deputy CEO Dr Martin McNamara says this agile approach to data collection will essentially “take the pulse” of Australians over the age of 45, providing a clearer picture of the health of people across NSW over coming months.

“COVID-19 has already had significant impacts on health and wellbeing and has required health services to adapt quickly to deliver care in new ways,” he said. “We’re really pleased to be working in partnership with the NSW Ministry of Health and through the 45 and Up Study generating evidence that will inform decision making and policy across the health sector at such an important time.”

The surveys will be developed regularly to respond to the changing COVID-19 environment. These will be supported by the regular 45 and Up survey, with additional questions about the pandemic, its impact on health, loneliness, lifestyle, physical activity, diet, sleep, alcohol use, access to health services, experiences with telehealth and much more.

Importantly, the data will also be progressively made available to researchers and provide a valuable new resource for understanding the effects of COVID-19 on the Australian population.

“We encourage researchers to use the Study and make the most of this rich new wave of data,” said Dr McNamara. “45 and Up has been tracking healthy ageing for over 14 years, and now, thanks to our new surveys, this world-class resource is rapidly growing.”

The 45 and Up Study is made possible thanks to a dedicated community of over 250,000 participants who complete regular surveys on their changing health. “We are hugely grateful for our wonderful participants,” said Dr McNamara. “Thanks to them, we can continue to understand what it means to age well and gain unprecedented insights into the impacts of COVID-19 on Australians.”

If you’re interested in using the 45 and Up COVID-19 data asset, please contact the 45 and Up Study team at 45andUp.research@saxinstitute.org.au

Find out more about the NSW government’s COVID-19 research grants here. For more information about the 45 and Up Study, click here.