The National Children's Study and the children of Wisconsin
Prospective, multi-year epidemiologic studies such as the Framingham Heart Study and the Nurses' Health Study have proven highly effective in identifying risk factors for chronic illness and in guiding disease prevention. Now, in order to identify environmental risk factors for chronic disease in children, the US Congress authorized a National Children's Study as part of the Children's Health Act of 2000. Enrollment of a nationally representative cohort of 100,000 children will begin in 2008, with follow-up to continue through age 21. Environmental assessment and examination of biomarkers collected at specified intervals during pregnancy and childhood will be a major component of the Study. Recruitment at 105 sites across the United States is planned, and will begin at 7 Vanguard Centers in 2008, including Waukesha County, Wis. The National Children's Study will provide information on preventable risk factors for such chronic diseases as asthma, certain birth defects, neurobehavioral syndromes, and obesity. In addition, the National Children's Study will provide training in pediatric environmental health for the next generation of researchers and practitioners.