Study: MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD, 1946 British Birth Cohort). 

The Medical Research Council (MRC) National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) is the oldest and longest running of the British birth cohort studies.

From an initial maternity survey of 13,687 of all births recorded in England, Scotland and Wales during one week of March, 1946, a socially stratified sample of 5,362 singleton babies born to married parents was selected for follow-up. This sample comprises the NSHD cohort.

The study members have been followed up in the course of 27 data collections. Regular interviews with the mothers were conducted by health visitors, with additional assessments by school doctors and teachers. In adult life, research nurses conducted home visits at ages 26,36,43,53 and 69, a detailed clinic visit took place between ages 60-64, as well as clinical sub studies focusing on the heart (Myofit46) and brain (Insight46). At the latest home visit at age 69, the participation rate was 80% (N=2149). In addition to regular postal questionnaires throughout life, there have been annual questionnaires to women (47-54 years) to capture the menopause transition and 3 waves of a COVID-19 questionnaires.

Multiple datasets cover over 20,000 variables, including biological samples which have been used to generate a variety of omics data. Data have A range of imaging and wearable data have been collected in clinical and remote environments.

The MRC National Survey for Health and Development (NSHD) has governance and access arrangements that comply with MRC data sharing policy. The survey data are accessible to bona fide researchers by applying through the NSHD data sharing platform, Skylark (

This data can be made available to researchers, for more information please email


Cohort profiles:
Kuh D, Pierce M, Adams J, et al. Cohort profile: updating the cohort profile for the MRC National Survey of Health and Development: a new clinic-based data collection for ageing research. Int J Epidemiol. 2011 Feb;40(1):e1-9. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyq231.

Lane, C.A., Parker, T., Cash, D.M. et al. Study protocol: Insight 46 – a neuroscience sub-study of the MRC National Survey of Health and Development. BMC Neurol 17, 75 (2017). 10.1186/s12883-017-0846-x

Webber M, Falconer D, AlFarih M, et al. Study protocol: MyoFit46-the cardiac sub-study of the MRC National Survey of Health and Development. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2022 Apr 1;22(1):140. doi: 10.1186/s12872-022-02582-0.

Professor Nish Chaturvedi, principal investigator, The MRC National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) said: “As the UK’s longest running nationally representative cohort study – the National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD, 1946 British Birth Cohort) is delighted to join the HDR UK Alliance. The NSHD has collected a broad range health data and samples across the life course and the Alliance will be invaluable in promoting the wider access and discovery of these data Integrating multiple sources of population health data to answer public health questions at scale and speed aligns with our vision, and we are honored to play a key role in this initiative.”