Recruitment Begins in National Children's Study


The National Children’s Study (NCS) has begun recruiting volunteers to take part in the largest long-term study of environmental and genetic effects on children’s health ever conducted in the United States. By following 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, investigators hope to collect information to prevent and treat some of the nation’s most pressing health problems, including autism, birth defects, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Seven Vanguard centers were selected to be the first to work with their communities on this study. In January 2009, the first phase of recruitment began with two Vanguard centers. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill began recruiting study volunteers from Duplin County, N.C., and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine began recruiting volunteers from the New York City borough of Queens, N.Y. During this initial recruitment phase, researchers will evaluate their recruitment and sampling methods.

In April 2009, Children’s Hospital, one of the seven Vanguard centers, will begin recruiting families in Montgomery County, Pa. Each Vanguard center is expected to have recruited 375 study participants at the end of 18 months, with the goal of recruiting 1,250 participants countywide over a five-year period.

Under the direction of Jennifer Culhane, Ph.D., M.P.H., Division of Adolescent Medicine, the Children’s Hospital NCS Study Center will also manage local participation, recruitment, and data collection in Philadelphia County, Pa.; New Castle County, Del.; Schuylkill County, Pa.; and Burlington County, N.J. Investigators anticipate approximately 1,000 families in each of these counties will participate.

In total, the study will be conducted in 105 previously designated study locations across the United States that together are representative of the nation’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 babies born with low birth weights.

Each center will hold presentations and community awareness activities in their communities to inform prospective volunteers. Some families in those areas will receive letters introducing the study, and prenatal
care providers and clinics in the study locations will also inform women about the study.

The study is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

For more information about the National Children’s Study, visit the official Web site at