THE NATIONAL CHILDREN'S STUDY, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (in conjuction with other agencies, institutions, universities, etc), will "examine the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of more than 100,000 children in ht U.S....following them from birth to age 21. The ultimate goal of the study is to improve the health and well-being of children".
Here are a few sample questions:
- Can very early exposure to some allergens actually help children remain asthma-free?
- How do genes and the environment interact to promote or prevent violent behavior in teenagers?
- Are lack of exercise and poor diet the only reasons why many children are overweight?
- Do infections impact developmental progress, asthma, obesity, and heart disease?
- How do city and neighborhood planning and construction encourage or discourage injuries?
A primary motivator in conducting this research is the fact that "children are still suffering high rates of chronic diseases, including asthma, developmental disorders, obesity, preventable injuries, learning disabilities and other problems, and many experts believe that fundamental changes in children's environments appear to be a common pathway for these high rates."
I think many of us can agree that the environment does play a very large role, if not the primary role, in health and well-being, including everything from air pollution, pesticide use, violence in schools, chemicals in common household items, availability and types of food consumed, stress-filled classrooms...the list can go on.
This study is currently underway, and looks like it will begin the first "wave" of studies in the next year (over the previous 5+ years, there have been many pilot studies conducted). The good news: we do not have to wait until year 2025 for the results, as preliminary information will be presented as it is gathered and analyzed. The first "results" will be available for consumers in 2010 (projected).
To find out more about this study, study locations, and how to participate, check out their website:
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