Use the 45 and Up Study

Answer important health research questions

Following over 250,000 participants aged 45 and over since 2005, the 45 and Up Study is Australia’s largest ongoing study of health and ageing.

The Study has already been used by over 800 researchers to explore a broad range of health issues including: diabetes, cancer, obesity, mental health, environmental health, and health service access and equity.

What the 45 and Up Study offers

  • More than 15 years of longitudinal data from surveys
    Surveys cover broad health and social topics, including participants’ behaviours, experiences, household and demographic situations, carer responsibilities, relationship changes, psychological distress, quality of life and chronic conditions.
  • Linked data to join the dots
    All Study participants consented to their surveys being linked to routinely collected health administrative data and health registry sources such as pharmaceutical (PBS), Medicare (MBS), hospital, cancer screening, Cancer Registry data and much more.
  • Large numbers in diverse cohorts
    Cohorts include people with complex and chronic conditions, Australians living in rural and remote areas, and one of the largest groups of older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of any longitudinal study.
  • Ability to develop your own sub-studies
    Sub-studies can be developed by inviting a subgroup of participants into ethics-approved interventional studies, biospecimen collections and bespoke surveys. Cohorts of interest can be selected to optimise research needs.
  • On-going, relevant data collection
    In addition to the important core questions included in all surveys, the 45 and Up Study adapts to ensure researchers have the latest cutting-edge data, including new survey data on the impact of COVID-19.
  • Geospatial data
    Data to support nuanced comparisons between local areas.
  • Biospecimen samples
    Biospecimens to explore phenotypes, genotypes, lifestyle factors, disease and treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Learn more about data, survey questionnaires, and technical information here.

Yes, this is called a sub-study. A sub-study is a research project that involves actively engaging a subset of the Study participant cohort outside routine data collection. Participants must provide informed consent if they decide to participate in the sub-study. The sub-study data gathered – from surveys, biometrics, biospecimens, to genetic information – can be linked to the 45 and Up surveys and health data of participants. After an agreed period, the data is included in the 45 and Up Study for all researchers to use.

Most of the information you need for estimating sample sizes can be found in the Study Data Books. There is also information in the publications from the Study. Please contact the 45 and Up Coordinating Centre for further information.

The 45 and Up Study is a population-based study. The cohort was recruited in 2005–2009 with more than 267,000 people aged 45 and over from across New South Wales, Australia joining the Study. Individuals aged 45 years and residing in NSW were randomly sampled from the Services Australia Medicare enrolment database.  The response rate was 19% and included 11% of the NSW population aged 45 years and over. Residents aged 80 years and those living in rural and remote areas were oversampled. The demographics of the Study are heterogeneous and included many immigrants to Australia, indigenous peoples, those from varied socioeconomic areas and wide-ranging educational backgrounds. 

Details of demographics can be found in the Cohort Profile paper and the Study Data Books.

All the enrolled participants are routinely invited to complete follow up surveys.

The surveys include core questions to identify changes in socio-economic factors, health, functional status, health behaviours and lifestyle, and environmental factors. In addition, new themes have been added to the 5-yearly follow-up surveys in response to evolving policy and researcher information needs. For example, surveys have added questions about end-of-life planning, experience of violence, vaccinations, sedentary behaviours, housing, the COVID-19 pandemic and new factors likely to impact on health (e.g. e-cigarettes).

Details can be found here and in the Cohort Profile paper.

Yes! There is extensive information from a subgroup of 60,000 participants on the impact of the COVID pandemic on health and wellbeing, healthcare access, use and trust in information sources, preventative behaviours during this time. See the questionnaire summary for all data collected.

Additionally, a series of smaller surveys exploring the ongoing impact of COVID were conducted in between 2020 and 2022.

The 45 and Up Study biospecimen collection is increasing. By 2020, over 5,000 biospecimens had been collected with 1,100 genomes sequenced. Researchers with approved projects can invite additional 45 and Up Study participants to donate biospecimens. The biospecimen information can be linked to many years of survey and administrative data to identify cohorts and understand the interaction between lifestyle factors, health, genetics and outcomes. Please contact the 45 and Up Coordinating Centre to discuss use of the biospecimens resource.

45 and Up Study data includes coding of residential location to Statistical Area Level 2 (SA2). Additional fine-level geocoded data, including latitude, longitude, SA1 and postcode data are also available for approved research. Mechanisms have been established to protect participants’ confidentiality.

There may be opportunities to commission the 45 and Up analytical team to support large projects. Alternately, the 45 and Up team may be able to suggest analysts who could collaborate to support your research.

Yes. The 45 and Up Study data has been used by researchers across Australia and internationally.

Contact us

Get in touch with us to start using the 45 and Up Study at 45andUp.Research@saxinstitute.org.au

The beauty of the 45 and Up Study is it follows participants over their life course, which allows us as researchers to track changes to people’s behaviour.

Dr Luna Xu, Scientia lecturer, Australia National Heart Foundation Post-doctoral Fellow, School of Population Health UNSW
The 45 and Up Study is owned and managed by the Sax Institute, in close collaboration with its major partner Cancer Council NSW along with other partners the Heart Foundation and the NSW Ministry of Health.