GSPH has been selected as a study center in the National Children’s Study to assess the effects of environmental and genetic factors on child and human health in the United States.
The study center will manage local participant recruitment and data collection in the largest study of child and human health ever conducted in the United States.
GSPH is one of 22 new study centers of the National Children’s Study, a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (including the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“What we learn will help not only children and families in Pennsylvania, but will help children across the United States and shape child health guidance, interventions and policy for generations to come,” said Roberta B. Ness, chair of the department of epidemiology at GSPH and principal investigator of the Pittsburgh study center.
The National Children’s Study eventually will follow a representative sample of 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, seeking information to prevent and treat some of the nation’s most pressing health problems, including autism, birth defects, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
The Pittsburgh study locations will focus on communities in Westmoreland County, Pa., and Marion County, W.Va. In those counties, selected women of reproductive age will be invited to participate in this long-term assessment of their environment, their health and the health of their future children.
In total, the study will be conducted in 105 previously designated study locations across the United States that together are representative of the entire U.S. population.
A national probability sample was used to select the counties in the study, which took into account factors including race and ethnicity, income, education level, number of births and number of babies born with low birth weights.
The National Children’s Study began in response to the Children’s Health Act of 2000, when Congress directed the NICHD and other federal agencies to undertake a national, long-term study of children’s health and development in relation to environmental exposures.