Construction of healthy aging index from two different datasets

Madara Miķelsone (Coresponding Author), Ieva Reine, Signe Tomsone, Helgi Guðmundsson, Andrejs Ivanovs, Halldór S. Guðmundsson

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Introduction: The aging population presents both unique challenges and opportunities for societies around the world. To develop an effective healthy aging strategy, a tool for assessing aging process is needed. Numerous attempts to quantify the aging process have been made. However, there is still a challenge in developing and choosing a good enough score that is easy to apply, has a construct of variables that are available in most nationwide surveys for comparable results, and at the same time reflects the aging process of older individuals. The purpose of this study is to present our approach to construct a comparable Healthy Aging Index (HAI). Materials and methods: In Latvia, data from Wave 8 of the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), involving 420 respondents, were used. For comparative analysis, data from a HL20 study on the health and wellbeing of the older adults in Iceland, which included 1,033 respondents, were used. Results: For Latvia, 13 items were selected, and for Iceland, nine items were selected. We constructed the HAI with four similar subscales for both countries—“Autonomy,” “Health,” “Wellbeing,” and “Activities,” and an additional subscale “Cognitive” for Latvia. We found matching items in all four subscales. For the Autonomy subscale, they were related to difficulties with everyday and daily tasks. In the Health subscale, the only matching item was self-rated physical health. One item related to loneliness was found for the Wellbeing subscale and one item related to social participation for the Activities subscale. Discussion: In our study, we found evidence for the successful construction of a HAI in two different datasets. The strength of our construct lies in the use of data from one of the largest social science panel studies in Europe (SHARE). As we were able to apply the construct to the Icelandic study, we believe that items presented in our approach are available in other population-based studies as well, and, therefore, can be easily replicated by others. By examining the existing SHARE data, HAI could be used to analyze long-term changes and could provide a foundation for comparing and monitoring the evolution of aging over time as well as comparing the aging process across societies. This is required for the authorities to conduct further analyses, proposals, and action plans in support of healthy aging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1231779
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • activities
  • Ageing and Retirement in Europe
  • autonomy
  • cognitive
  • health
  • Latvia
  • Survey of Health
  • wellbeing
  • Humans
  • Europe
  • Health Surveys
  • Healthy Aging
  • Aging
  • Aged
  • Retirement

Field of Science*

  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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