When people age, accumulating diseases and biological changes may result in cognitive deterioration. The degree of cognitive decline partly depends on early cognitive development. Several environmental and pathophysiological factors are assumed to be related to cognitive development in early life as well as to cognitive decline and survival in late life. The main aims of this thesis were 1) to extend existing knowledge on risk and protective factors of cognitive development in early childhood, and 2) to determine risk factors pertaining to subjective health and subclinical vascular disease that may be associated with cognitive outcomes and survival in late-life. The studies in this thesis were conducted within two population-based studies in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; namely the Generation R Study, a children’s cohort from fetal life onwards and the Rotterdam Study, a prospective study among people of 45 years and older.