Archives for posts with tag: The National Children’s Study

From the Sacramento Bee:

One of the largest and most comprehensive studies on how the environment is affecting U.S. children’s health is about to be launched – and researchers want Sacramento kids to play a key role in it.

Today, researchers and public health officials are holding a launch celebration at the Sacramento Zoo in Land Park where they will recruit potential participants – looking for women who are considering pregnancy or are pregnant.

Sacramento was selected in 2007 as a site for the study, which Congress authorized in 2000 with the Children’s Health Act. It is one of 37 centers nationwide responsible for conducting the research.

The observational study will follow 100,000 children from before they are born until age 21.

It will examine a vast range of environmental impacts on children’s development, such as the presence of endocrine-disrupting chemicals in breast milk or how neighborhoods and families influence children’s risk for diabetes, said Irva Hertz-Picciotto, principal investigator for the National Children’s Study in Sacramento.

“There’s been a rapid increase in a number of conditions in childhood that we didn’t used to have – obesity, diabetes, autism, asthma,” said Hertz-Picciotto, chief of the UC Davis School of Medicine’s Division of Environmental and Occupational Health. “We are interested in the factors that could be in food, in the water, in our household products, in our neighborhoods that are affecting children.”

And those clues may in turn lead researchers to interventions, medical approaches and cures.

“Because we’ll be combining data from all over the country, we hope to find some answers to causes and contributing factors and ways to reduce those conditions or make them less severe,” she said.



Families in 16 Ramsey County neighborhoods have begun receiving letters urging them to take part in the largest and longest study of children’s health ever conducted in the United States.

The National Children’s Study will look at what factors contribute to autism, asthma, attention deficit disorder and other serious childhood ailments.

105 counties nationwide were selected to participate in the study. Ramsey County was chosen because of the diverse background of its residents.

More than 100,000 U.S. kids, including 1,000 from Ramsey County, will be recruited for the study. Researchers will examine how air quality, food, neighborhoods and family history affect kids’ health.

“In the last two decades we’ve been seeing increasing prevalence of certain conditions, like autism, like diabetes, like obesity in kids,” said University of Minnesota public health professor Pat McGovern, who also is the project’s lead investigator in Ramsey County. “And what scientists think — but they’ve never really had enough kids followed long enough to figure out — is, is that a gene/environment interaction?”

It will be years before scientists gather enough data to test their genetic and environmental theories. In the meantime, their most challenging task will be recruiting enough pregnant women to join the study and stick with it for 21 years following the birth of their babies.

In addition to the letters that are being sent to 32,000 households in Ramsey County, study organizers are attending community baby showers and health fairs to spread the word about the study.

At a recent event with 15 representatives from schools, social service and health agencies, Deb Hendricks, Director of Community engagement for the Ramsey County study, explains the project.

“What we are really doing is looking at where children live, where they play, where they go to school, where they spend their time, how they spend their time, what they eat to see what we can find out over the long-term about children’s health,” she tells her audience.

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