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Socio-environmental, lifestyle, behavioural, and psychological determinants of biological ageing: The Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study.

T P Ng et al, 2020.
Gerontology, published online.
November 24, 2020



The identification of modifiable health span-promoting factors is a public health priority.


To explore the socio-environmental, lifestyle, behavioural, and psychological determinants of a clinical phenotypic measure of biological ageing in the Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study (SLAS) cohort.


Using cross-sectional data on 2,844 SLAS-2 adults with a chronological age (CA) ≥55 years, we estimated biological age (BA) using a validated panel of clinical, biochemical, physiological, and functional indicators (8 in men and 10 in women) and calculated the difference between BA and CA (BA – CA in years). Potential determinants included education, housing status, loss of a spouse, living alone, lifestyle and health activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, nutritional risks, consumption of milk, soy, fruit, vegetables, coffee and tea, sleep parameters, and life satisfaction.


The mean CA was 67.0 (standard deviation [SD] 7.9; range 55-94) years. The estimated BA varied more widely (SD 8.9 years; range 47.5-119.9 years), and BA – CA ranged from -11.3 to 30.0 years. In stepwise selection regression analyses, multiple significant independent determinants in a final model were larger for private housing, being single/divorced/widowed, productivity, cognitive and leisure time activity scores, 10 h/week of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, unintended loss of weight, life satisfaction, and daily consumption of fruits 1-2 or ≥3 servings and Chinese tea 1-2 or ≥3 cups daily, together explaining 16% of BA – CA variance in men and 14% in women. Associated BA – CA estimates were highest in men with high-end housing status (-1.8 years, effect size 0.015) and unintended weight loss (1.5 years, effect size 0.017).


We identified determinants of biological ageing which can promote health span.

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