That journey: from cradle to grave

The Guardian provides yet another sobering read.

Here the author, Helen Pearson, examines the life journey of various cohorts of Britons,  The Life Project: what makes some people happy, healthy and successful – and others not? Just one paragraph should invite closer reading,

In March 1946, scientists recorded the birth of almost every British baby born in one, cold week. They have been following thousands of them ever since, in what has become the longest running major study of human development in the world. These people – who turn 70 over the next two weeks − are some of the best studied people on the planet. And the analysis of them was so successful that researchers repeated the exercise, starting to follow thousands of babies born in 1958, 1970, the early 1990s and at the turn of the millennium. Altogether, more than 70,000 people across five generations have been enrolled in these “birth cohort” studies. No other country in the world is tracking generations of people in quite this way: the studies have become the envy of scientists around the world, a jewel in the crown of British science, and yet, beyond the circle of dedicated researchers who run them, remarkably few people know that they even exist.

[bold added for emphasis]

Such studies, longitudinal or tracer, are clearly invaluable to society. Not only to researchers, but to committed policymakers. Regrettably, some countries with the wherewithal to conduct a similar data and analytical exercise opt for blather rather than data collection and analysis for policy making.

This article should provoke not only further observation and discussion, but also some introspection – how satisfactory has been the journey and what lifestyle adjustments are called for? That saying about the ‘unexamined life…’



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