Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:


Healthy old age

Do longer lives mean that growing numbers of us will spend more time in a state of high-cost dependency? Evidence from one elderly cohort suggests that excessive levels of disability are far from inevitable.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Crimmins, E. M. Annu. Rev. Public Health 25, 79–98 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Manton, K. G. Annu. Rev. Public Health 29, 91–113 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Christensen, K., McGue, M., Petersen, I., Jeune, B. & Vaupel, J. W. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 105, 13274–13279 (2008).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Jagger, C. et al. J. Gerontol. Med. Sci. 62A, 408–414 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Lubitz, J. et al. N. Engl. J. Med. 349, 1048–1055 (2003).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Olshansky, S. J., Perry, D., Miller, R. A. & Butler, R. N. Ann. NY Acad. Sci. 1114, 11–13 (2007).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  7. Kirkwood, T. B. L. Cell 120, 437–447 (2005).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kirkwood, T. Healthy old age. Nature 455, 739–740 (2008).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing