The Social Environment and Biomarkers of Aging Study (SEBAS) in Taiwan is an extension of the Taiwan Longitudinal Study of Aging (TLSA) that began in 1989. The SEBAS builds on this longitudinal survey by including a collection of biomarkers and a medical examination, along with household interviews, in two waves: 2000 and 2006. The household interview includes extensive information on self-reported measures of health and well-being, the social environment, health-related behaviors and life challenges. In 2006, an expanded set of health assessments was administered by the interviewers in the respondent’s home.

Data Collection

The 2000 wave of the Social Environment and Biomarkers of Aging Study (SEBAS) comprised a nationally representative sample of Taiwanese aged 54 and older drawn from the TLSA sample; older persons (71+) and urban residents were oversampled. In-home interviews were completed with 1497 respondents (92% response rate), 1023 of whom also completed the physical examination. In 2006, a follow-up was conducted with those who completed the 2000 exam and survived to 2006. A refresher cohort of those aged 53-60 in 2006 was also added so that the 2006 SEBAS represents a cross-section of the Taiwanese population aged 53 and older. In-home interviews were completed by 1284 respondents (91% of survivors in the longitudinal cohort; 82% response rate for the younger cohort), 1036 of whom also completed the physical examination.

Several weeks after the household interview, participants visited a nearby hospital for a physical examination. The biomarker collection included seated blood pressure, anthropometric measurements, a fasting venous blood specimen, a spot urine sample, and a 12h overnight urine collection (7pm to 7am). Compliance was high: in 2000, 96 percent fasted overnight and provided a urine specimen deemed suitable for analysis; the comparable figure was 88 percent in 2006.


The biological parameters collected in 2000 and 2006 included standard cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors (e.g., blood pressure, lipids, measures of glucose metabolism and obesity), inflammatory markers (e.g., IL-6, CRP), neuroendocrine markers (e.g., DHEAS, cortisol, norepinephrine, epinephrine), various other laboratory assays (e.g., homocysteine, serum albumin, creatinine and dopamine), two genetic markers (5-HTTLPR, APOE), and a series of interviewer-administered performance assessments (e.g., grip strength, peak flow, timed walk, chair stands).

See p. 36-37 of User Guide for more details

User Guide