The Healthy Aging Index (HAI), an index of physiological aging, has been demonstrated to predicts mortality, morbidity and disability. We studied the longitudinal development of the HAI to identify aging trajectories and evaluated the role of baseline sociodemographic characteristics and lifestyle factors of the trajectories. Four measurements with intervals of 5 years were included from the Doetinchem Cohort Study. The HAI reflects levels of systolic blood pressure, non-fasting plasma glucose levels, global cognitive functioning, plasma creatinine levels and lung functioning. The HAI score ranges from 0 to 10: higher scores indicate a better health profile. Latent class mixture modelling was used to model within-person change and to identify aging trajectories. Area under the curve was calculated per trajectory to estimate total healthy years. In total, 2324 women and 2013 men were included. One HAI trajectory was identified for women, and two trajectories for men, labelled ‘gradual’ aging (76%) and ‘early’ aging (24%). Men who were medium/high educated, below 36 years at baseline, complied with guidelines on physical activity and were not obese in any round were associated with increased odds to ‘gradual’ aging of 1.46 (CI: 1.18–1.81), 1.93 (CI: 1.42–2.62), 1.26 (1.02–1.57) and 1.76 (1.32–2.35), respectively. Between 30 and 70 years of age, men in the ‘early’ aging trajectory had the least healthy years (29.6 years), followed by women (30.1 years), and ‘gradual’ aging men (34.7 years). This study emphasizes that ‘physiological aging’ is not only an issue of older ages. Between 30 and 70 years of age, ‘early’ aging men and women had approximately five healthy years less compared to ‘gradual’ aging men. Lifestyle factors (e.g. nutrition and physical activity) seem to play an important role in optimal aging.

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Keywords Biomarkers, Lifestyle, Longitudinal, Physiological aging
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Journal Preventive Medicine
Dieteren, C.M. (Charlotte M.), Samson, L.D. (Leonard D.), Schipper, M, van Exel, J. (Job), Brouwer, W.B.F, Verschuren, W.M.M, & Picavet, H.S.J. (H. Susan J.). (2020). The Healthy Aging Index analyzed over 15 years in the general population: The Doetinchem Cohort Study. Preventive Medicine, 139. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106193