Hamilton will participate in a national aging study beginning this month.

The Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) is recruiting 50,000 men and women in Hamilton and Ottawa between the ages of 45 and 85. The CLSA plans to collect information about participants changing biology, medical needs and lifestyle over 20 years as they age.

"By studying aging as a process - and looking at the various trajectories of aging - we can begin to understand why some people age in a healthy way and why others do not," said Parminder Raina, lead investigator of the study and McMaster University professor.

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Parminder Raina is the lead investigator of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging and a professor at McMaster University. (Courtesty of McMaster University)

Raina said the study should shed light on what causes disease and disability while aging and could be particularly important in Hamilton.

"The Hamilton area has a lot bigger aging population than many other parts of Ontario," Raina said. "Our data will help us understand how we design health care delivery for different populations."

Raina said Hamilton's economic and ethnic diversity will make it very important in understanding how to provide services, in the future, for diverse populations across Canada.

Statistics Canada reported that in 2010, 1.8 million people in Ontario were over the age of 65. By 2031, that number is likely to double.

Participants will undergo an interview on their health every three years. The study involves 160 researchers from universities across Canada.

Raina said that packages will be sent out by the Ministry of Health asking for people to participate in the study.