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Supporting a collaborative European child cohort to benefit child health

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Supporting a collaborative European child cohort to benefit child health

Barcelona, May 28th 2013.- High level support is needed for a collaborative European Birth Cohort, a permanent Europe-wide data resource containing individual-level information about child health and exposures from existing and new European cohorts. This will strengthen child health research, and support translation of its findings for development of public health priorities and policies at the European level.

These are the key recommendations to be presented at an international Child Health Research conference, following three years of in-depth reviews and case studies by CHICOS, a European project led by Martine Vrijheid of the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL). The conference is jointly organised with another FP7 project focussed on child health, RICHE (Research Inventory for Child Health in Europe), and takes place in Dublin on May 30th and 31st.

More than 70 birth cohorts across Europe are prospectively studying more than 500,000 mothers, fathers and children at repeated time points and over long time periods. These studies are gathering a wealth of information on important childhood diseases and determinants, such as obesity, asthma, infections, behavioural problems, cognitive development, and social, environmental and genetic characteristics of the children and their parents.

“There is currently no common European database with prospective, individual-level, data on child health and determinants, but we have built the groundwork for ongoing birth cohort research in Europe including more than 500,000 mother-child pairs. This can lead to scientific advances of great relevance to European child health policy making. The existing European birth cohorts represent enormous investments in terms of money, time, intellectual resources, commitment of participants and their parents. High level support is needed to turn this into the Europe-wide resource for child health research.” concludes Vrijheid, CHICOS Project coordinator.


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