A community-based cohort study comprised of 500,000 volunteers aged between 40-69 years in 2006-2010 from across the United Kingdom. Participants have undergone measures, provided blood, urine and saliva samples, detailed information about themselves and agreed to have their health followed. The study aims to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses including cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, eye disorders, depression and forms of dementia.

UK Biobank

Geographic coverage
United Kingdom - England, Scotland & Wales

Start date


Sample type
Cohort study, biobank

Sample details
Invitations to participate in the study were mailed to 9 million people aged 40-69 whose contact details were obtained from Nation Health Service central registers. Recruitment aimed for an equal proportion of men and women and a balanced numbers in 5 year bands between the ages of 40-69 years.

The sample is not representative of the general population on a variety of sociodemographic, physical, lifestyle and health-related characteristics, with evidence of a 'healthy volunteer' selection bias. However, the large sample size and heterogeneity of exposure measures allow for valid scientific inferences of associations between exposures and health outcomes that are generalizable to the wider population.

Sample size at recruitment
Approx 500,000 individuals

Sample size at most recent sweep
158,000 - Online mental health follow up


Age at recruitment
40 years +

Cohort year of birth


Data access
Application process ukbiobank.ac.uk/register-apply

Genetic data collected

Linkage to administrative data

Additional information


Related Themes
Administrative data, ageing, biomarkers, cognitive measures, diet and nutrition, housing, loneliness, physical health, work and employment, COVID

Department of Health and Social Care
Medical Research Council
Scottish Government
Wellcome Trust
Mental health measures timeline
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