Healthy ageing and being able to live an independent life until old age is not experienced by everybody. In many Western countries, women live longer than men, but suffer from more disabilities and need more care. It remains largely unknown when these differences between men and women arise in the life course and which modifiable lifestyle factors play a role in these differences. RIVM and VU University Amsterdam recently started research into this.

The research focuses on the differences between men and women in their physical, mental and cognitive function during ageing. We also investigate how lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol use, exercise, inactivity, diet and sleep contribute to these differences. The study will use data from two long-term ageing studies: the Doetinchem Cohort Study and the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. The results will contribute to knowledge about healthy ageing of men and women.

Promoting healthy ageing for women

The research also focuses on strategies for optimizing and promoting women's health. In consultation with a group of women, the researchers will investigate how relevant lifestyle factors can be improved and how preventive interventions can be optimally directed to women. This study is funded by ZonMw’s Gender and Health programme.

WEON 2018, 7 and 8 June

On 7  and 8 June,  the annual Dutch Epidemiology Conference (WEON) of the Netherlands Epidemiological Society, is organised and hosted by RIVM. First results from some studies on differences between men and women in the way they age will be presented at the conference. Sex differences in ageing is also the main topic of a pre-conference workshop 'Let's talk about sex: gender differences in epidemiological research'.