The National Childrens Study, a joint effort between HHS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, awarded contracts to 22 new study centers to manage participant recruitment and data collection nationwide. The study was developed in response to the Childrens Health Act of 2000, when Congress directed the National Institutes of Healths National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and other federal agencies to conduct a national, long-term study of childrens health and development related to environmental exposures. Researchers will follow a representative sample of 100,000 children from before birth to age 21, gathering information to help prevent a variety of health problems, including autism, birth defects, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Study researchers will examine not only what children are eating and drinking, but whats in the air they breathe, whats in the dust in their homes, and their possible exposures to chemicals from materials used to construct their homes and schools, Duane Alexander, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, said in a news release.
The study centers will oversee the research in 20 states at locations in both urban and rural areas.
Congress appropriated $69 million in fiscal 2007 to fund the centers and the studys initial phase, according to the NIH. -- by Jessica Zigmond