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Study Description

The Health Aging and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study is a NIA-sponsored cohort study of the factors that contribute to incident disability and the decline in function of healthier older persons, with a particular emphasis on changes in body composition in old age. Between 4/15/97 and 6/5/98 the Health ABC study has recruited 3,075 70-79 year old community-dwelling adults (41% African-American), who were initially free of mobility and activities of daily living disability. The key components of Health ABC include a baseline exam, annual follow-up clinical exams, and phone contacts every 6 months to identify major health events and document functional status between clinic visits.

The core yearly examination for HEALTH ABC includes measurement of body composition by dual energy x-ray absorptio-metry (DXA), walking ability, strength, an interview that includes self-report of limitations, and a medication survey, weight. At baseline, visceral adiposity was measured by computerized tomography (CT). Provision has been made for banking of blood specimens and extracted DNA (HealthABC repository). The overall goal of this project is to identify genetic determinants of visceral adiposity. Genetic samples from 2932 unrelated participants were evaluated with a genome-wide scan.

  • Study Weblinks:
  • Study Design:
    • Prospective Longitudinal Cohort
  • Study Type:
    • Longitudinal
    • Cross-Sectional
  • dbGaP estimated ancestry using GRAF-pop
  • Number of study subjects that have individual-level data available through Authorized Access:
Authorized Access
Publicly Available Data (Public ftp)

Connect to the public download site. The site contains release notes and manifests. The site also contains data dictionaries, variable summaries, documents, and truncated analyses, whenever available.

Study Inclusion/Exclusion Criteria

All persons in the study were selected to be free of disability in activities of daily living and free of functional limitation (defined as any difficulty walking a quarter of a mile or any difficulty walking up 10 steps without resting) at baseline.

Molecular Data
TypeSourcePlatformNumber of Oligos/SNPsSNP Batch IdComment
Whole Genome Genotyping Illumina Human1M-Duov3_B 1185051 1049348
Study History

The HABC cohort began in 1997 (9/1948 - 4/1953) and has continued with annual examinations to the present.

Selected publications
Diseases/Traits Related to Study (MeSH terms)
Links to Related Resources
Authorized Data Access Requests
Study Attribution