The aim of the fifth health check (5HC) was to study how health changes as individuals age, and factors that influence the ageing process and risk of disease. Areas studied include cognitive function levels, and patterns of physical activity in relation to change in function and body composition.
Repeat assessments in this phase included a follow-up health and lifestyle questionnaire (HLQ), a physical activity questionnaire (PAQ) and a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). In addition, a new Diet Web Questionnaire (DietWebQ) was completed.
Health Check Appointment
The 5HC appointment was carried out at the EPIC-Norfolk Research Unit, Norwich Community Hospital. The appointment lasted approximately 2 -2.5 hours.
- Two measurements of blood pressure were taken, one at the beginning of the appointment and one towards the end.
- Height and weight were measured, along with waist and hip measurements.
- A measurement of lung function was taken using a hand-held Spirometer to measure the volume of air and mechanical characteristics of the lungs, along with the flow of air through the airways.
- Muscle strength was measured using a hand-held dynamometer.
- Participants were asked to complete a set of simple balance tests to assess the ability to hold basic standing positions. We also assessed leg strength by asking participants to complete a series of chair stands and a timed walk over a set distance.
- An iDEXA Scan (DEXA = Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) measured body composition, giving an accurate measurement of fat distribution. This method also determined the overall density of bones and measured overall fat, regional fat, and muscle mass.
Participants were asked to wear two activity monitors following their appointment. These measured the level of physical activity undertaken as they went about their daily life.
A number of measurements were conducted to assess a range of cognitive functions including memory, language, attention, learning and information retention. Some of the measurements that were carried out in the 5HC were repeat measures from the 3HC. Other measurements were new to this health check and consisted of a set of simple response tasks.