The UK Biobank is 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 - Nations
England, Scotland, Wales

Geographic coverage - Regions

Start date

Catalogue record last updated


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
Approximately 500,000 individuals

Sample size at most recent sweep
158,000 (2020 - Mental Health Questionnaire)


Age at recruitment
40 years +

Cohort year of birth


Data access
Project proposal - see registration and data access guidance ukbiobank.ac.uk/register-apply

Genetic data collected

Linkage to administrative data
Environmental data
Health data

HDR UK Innovation Gateway
HDR Gateway

Additional information


Related themes
Covid-19 data collection, Biomarkers, Cognitive measures, Diet and nutrition, Sexuality and gender identity, Housing, Socioeconomic status and deprivation, Loneliness and social isolation, Neighbourhood, Physical health assessment, Digital technology and social media, Victimisation and life events, Puberty, Reproductive health, Work and employment, Sleep problems

Key Papers

UK biobank: An open access resource for identifying the causes of a wide range of complex diseases of middle and old age.

Indicators of mental disorders in UK Biobankā€”a comparison of approaches.

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

Sweep name:

Cohort member age:

Data collection period:


Physical health measures:

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