Predictors of healthy physiological aging across generations in a 30-year population-based cohort study: the Doetinchem Cohort Study

Bette Loef*, Gerrie Cor M. Herber, Albert Wong, Nicole A.H. Janssen, Jurriaan Hoekstra, H. Susan J. Picavet, W. M.Monique Verschuren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Background: Predicting healthy physiological aging is of major interest within public health research. However, longitudinal studies into predictors of healthy physiological aging that include numerous exposures from different domains (i.e. the exposome) are scarce. Our aim is to identify the most important exposome-related predictors of healthy physiological aging over the life course and across generations. Methods: Data were used from 2815 participants from four generations (generation 1960s/1950s/1940s/1930s aged respectively 20–29/30–39/40–49/50–59 years old at baseline, wave 1) of the Doetinchem Cohort Study who were measured every 5 years for 30 years. The Healthy Aging Index, a physiological aging index consisting of blood pressure, glucose, creatinine, lung function, and cognitive functioning, was measured at age 46–85 years (wave 6). The average exposure and trend of exposure over time of demographic, lifestyle, environmental, and biological exposures were included, resulting in 86 exposures. Random forest was used to identify important predictors. Results: The most important predictors of healthy physiological aging were overweight-related (BMI, waist circumference, waist/hip ratio) and cholesterol-related (using cholesterol lowering medication, HDL and total cholesterol) measures. Diet and educational level also ranked in the top of important exposures. No substantial differences were observed in the predictors of healthy physiological aging across generations. The final prediction model’s performance was modest with an R2 of 17%. Conclusions: Taken together, our findings suggest that longitudinal cardiometabolic exposures (i.e. overweight- and cholesterol-related measures) are most important in predicting healthy physiological aging. This finding was similar across generations. More work is needed to confirm our findings in other study populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107
Number of pages13
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • Exposome
  • Longitudinal study
  • Physiological aging
  • Prediction

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