Press release

Saga unveils ground-breaking longitudinal study tracking health of the over 50s population

Wednesday 22 August 2007

  • Carried out in conjunction with experts from Harris Manchester College at Oxford University and the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM)
  • Study will track over 1,000 Saga customers on an annual basis to assess the physical and psychological health of the over 50s
  • Results aim to help inform and to shape future health policy

Saga, the over 50s experts, have today announced an exciting collaboration with Harris Manchester College at Oxford University, and the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM), to create a pioneering longitudinal study designed to capture a snapshot of the physical and psychological well-being of a section of the over 50s population in the UK.

The study will track over 1,000 Saga customers every year for six years to assess how lifestyle choices and attitudes affect health and general well-being, with the aim of helping to inform and shape future health policies for the care of the over 50s.

The study* is the result of a partnership between the health experts at Saga and researchers at Harris Manchester College and OCDEM. Saga's experience as the leading over 50s specialist means they have access to the largest panel of people aged 50 in the UK. The response to this was particularly encouraging and Saga hope to establish a 1,000-strong cohort who will be surveyed on an annual basis between now and 2012.

The panel will be surveyed annually on a range of health aspects, including how they feel physically and psychologically, what activities they enjoy, and aspects of their diet and lifestyle. The results from the initial questionnaire have revealed that the health of the over 50s population is generally very good, with 90% being non-smokers and 74% eating a balanced, healthy diet. In addition, 90% do not feel restricted in physical activity, and 69% feel happy all or most of the time.

Andrew Goodsell, Chief Executive, Saga Group Ltd, said:

"Our credentials in understanding the needs of and issues facing the over 50s are unquestionable and for over 50 years we have been building our business around exactly these principles. Together with experts from Harris Manchester College, we can now track over the long term how these needs are changing. By gaining insight into these often complex issues, we can help shape public policy surrounding the health care needs of the over 50s."

Professor David Matthews from Harris Manchester College and OCDEM, said: "We are grateful that Saga is supporting this important collaboration that we hope will, for the first time, provide a comprehensive insight into the physical and psychological well-being of the over 50s. This innovative project will track health and lifestyle changes over time and will provide a detailed picture for those concerned with evidence-based decision making in the health sector."


Notes to Editors-

The Saga Group is the UK's leading provider of products and services specifically designed for people aged 50 and over. With 2.6 million customers Saga provides insurance, financial services and holidays, and publishes the monthly Saga Magazine.

Dr Saga is an online health resource that enables people to research the symptoms and treatments for common conditions; search for a consultant that is right for you; find a complementary therapist near you and find the best hospital care for your condition. Dr Saga can be found at

About Harris Manchester College and the OCDEM

The smallest of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford, Harris Manchester College is the only mixed-sex higher education college in the UK whose undergraduate places are available exclusively to mature students aged 21 or over. OCDEM is an internationally-renowned centre which combines clinical care, research and education in diabetes, endocrine and metabolic diseases. By promoting world-class research, it aims to enhance understanding of these diseases and conditions and to accelerate the search for new treatments and cures.

* Recruitment for the study is based on fully informed consent initially surveyed in a large health-questionnaire survey.

For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.



    Press Office

    01303 771529