October 2011

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Volunteers Needed for Children’s Study

Expecting a baby? You might be able to volunteer for the National Children’s Study. This ambitious research project aims to uncover how genesStretches of DNA, a substance you inherit from your parents, that define characteristics such as eye color and your risk for disease. and the environment affect children’s health. The study will follow children from before birth until age 21. It’s the largest long-term study of children’s health ever conducted in the U.S.

Women who are or may become pregnant in the next few years may be eligible to enroll if they live near 1 of the 37 study locations across the country (see www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov/studylocations). Volunteers will fill out questionnaires about their environment and family health histories. Later, they and their children may be asked to visit clinics at study centers.

By analyzing this information, researchers expect to gain understanding of how the food we eat, the chemicals we’re exposed to and other factors might interact with genes to affect health and growth.

“The National Children’s Study is an investment in the future of our nation’s children,” says Dr. Alan Guttmacher, director of NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “Through their participation, women and their families can help in the search for information to improve the health, development and well-being of future generations.”