U.S. Preparing 25-Year Children’s Health Study Involving 100,000 Kids
This month, the U.S. is launching a 25-year study involving about 100,000 children from 105 counties to examine the causes and contributors of many childhood medical issues, such as asthma, autism and cancer, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The study will follow children from before birth until they are 21 years old.
The National Children's Study -- led by HHS' Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development -- was authorized by Congress in the National Children's Health Act of 2002. Researchers already have spent nearly $200 million to begin the project, which officials predict will cost several billion dollars to complete.
Researchers will examine the long-term effects of children's surroundings and biology, studying the effect on participants of various factors, including:
- Community and cultural influences;
- Family dynamics;
- Genetics; and
Christina Chambers -- co-director of the project in San Diego County and an associate professor at the UC-San Diego Department of Pediatrics and Family and Preventive Medicine -- said, "This study is unparalleled in terms of size and length of the trial," adding, "The impetus for this was to fill a huge gap in what we know and what we don't know about child health."
Mel Hovell, director of San Diego State's Center for Behavioral Epidemiology and Community Health, said that examining data taken while a child grows, instead of only when that child gets sick, produces more accurate results and could show disease triggers that previously were undetected (Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.