Healthy longevity in the 21st century: A cross-generational life course perspective

24 May 2023
Public lecture

George Ploubidis gave his Professorial Lecture on 24 May 2023. He explored findings from across several generations suggesting how to delay the onset of chronic illness and promote health and wellbeing.

Event details


This hybrid event took place on Wednesday 24 May 2023.

About the event


The twentieth century witnessed significant improvements in health in most countries, including substantial increases in survival to older ages. The rapid increase in life expectancy across generations has raised the question of how healthily the gained years of life will be spent, with emerging evidence pointing to an expansion of morbidity, or an increase in years spent in poor health.

George Ploubidis is Professor of Population Health and Statistics at the UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies. He is Director of two CLS studies; the 1958 National Child Development Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study.

Drawing on his research, George will demonstrate that this is not a consequence of an ageing population but a reflection of long-term population health trends. He will show how generational differences observed in the UK’s series of population based birth cohorts – which track large numbers of individuals from birth and throughout their lives – offer insights into how to delay the onset of chronic illness and promote health, function, and productivity.

He will present evidence on the central role of lifelong mental health in shaping healthy longevity and will discuss the wider implications of secular population mental health trends. Finally, George will propose that evidence from across the life course of several generations is needed in order to fully grasp the complex interplay between long term macrosocial trends, shocks and population health.

This event will be particularly useful to researchers, policy makers and students interested in public health, population ageing, mental health and longitudinal cohort research.

The IOE Professorial Public Lecture series
The IOE’s series of professorial public lectures provides an opportunity to celebrate and share the expertise of our professors. Join the conversation on Twitter with #IOELectures and @IOE_London.

Each lecture is free and open to everyone – staff, students and members of the public.

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Centre for Longitudinal Studies
UCL Social Research Institute

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