A cohort comparison between two different populations of 70 year-olds in Glostrup who had health examinations in 1967 (230 men and 210 women) and in 1984 (412 men and 392 women) was conducted with the purpose of describing changes in health variables among old people during a period of falling mortality for both men and women. From the 1967 investigation to the 1984 investigation there was a significant improvement of the cardiovascular risk profile (i.e. body mass index, blood pressure, serum cholesterol, glucose tolerance) which is consistent with other such investigations. In contrast to these findings, symptoms of chronic conditions (angina pectoris, intermittent claudication and bronchitis) as well as the need for health care were the same in the two populations of 70 year-olds. In addition, the 1914 cohort reported a more pessimistic outlook with regard to their general health and greater consumption of medicine. The results of this investigation are consistent with expectations regarding changes in risk factors and mortality in older generations. The consequences of the falling mortality for morbidity and functional ability in a life perspective are, however, still uncertain, and cannot be evaluated alone from results such as these.