Changes in physical functioning in northern and southern Europe

Need for help increases with age but is lower in later generations

In the HALE project, in elderly European men and women disability and need for help increased with advancing age but at the same time decreased over time among more recent generations. The prospective analysis showed a favorable time trend in self-care abilities for men and women and in need for self-care help in men.

Mobility varies across cultures

Mobility-related disability among men and self-care disability among women decreased overall but more in cohorts from the south than from the north of Europe. This suggests that the proportion of elderly people with disabilities is decreasing and that physical function differs across cultures.

Measuring physical function

Physical function was measured with the self-administered WHO-questionnaire on Activities of Daily Living.

More about healthy aging

From 1984 onwards, additional studies started to examine indicators of healthy ageing in the elderly populations of in the SCS and related studies.


Lifestyle, diet and optimism

A healthy diet, especially eating more fruit, vegetables, and whole grain bread was related to a higher level of optimism.