What is GPA?

The association between poor psychosocial health and the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes is well established. Shift work, night work, working overtime and a lack of coherence during working life are well-known risk factors for type 2 diabetes, although we do not understand fully how these factors affect long-term health outcomes, and when in the life-course their effects are most pronounced.

The onset of weight gain and type 2 diabetes are thought to result from an entangled interaction between environmental and biological factors acting from early life onwards. Type 2 diabetes impairs the prognosis of healthy and active ageing and requires a very high level of self-management in addition to healthcare and, this is also highly dependent on the psychosocial status of the individual.

The project is developing a dynamic life course model to better understand and characterise the combined effects of glucose metabolism and psychosocial stress, which have a significant impact on individuals as they age, both from a health and ability to work perspective.

Gluco-Psychosocial Axis

The Gluco-Psychosocial Axis or GPA is a novel concept which incorporates the factors and pathways determining glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity with the neuroendocrine response to psychosocial stress into a single health indicator.

This unique indicator provides an understanding of the biological components of health and the capacity to impact actively upon them, in order to influence healthy ageing.

Risk of Unhealthy Ageing Based on GPA Status

In order to establish a GPA measure the project is studying social adversity, family demographics, gestational weight gain and obesity, and diseases such as gestational diabetes mellitus. We hope to provide a better understanding of how these components determine ageing related outcomes, and how they may be modified to ensure healthy and active ageing throughout life.