WVU takes part in National Children’s Health Study
Marion County Mothers and Children will be asked to Volunteer

West Virginia University and Marion County children will be part of the federal government’s new National Children’s Study, the largest study ever of children’s health in the U.S.  The study will follow thousands of children as they age, from before birth until they reach 21 years old. 

Marion County has been selected as one of 105 research sites in the country.  Pregnant women or women who are thinking about having a child in the near future, who live in Marion County, and are more than 18 years old are eligible to participate in the study.  Within five years, WVU researchers hope to have 1000 children from Marion County enrolled in the longitudinal study. 

The study will examine how environment and genetics play a role in a child’s health and development.  For example, researchers will look at how exposure to certain chemicals may affect brain development and how social settings, including family, community and school, impact a child’s overall health.

“One third of children in West Virginia are at risk of becoming or are already overweight by kindergarten,” said Lesley Cottrell, Ph.D., principal investigator for the National Children’s Study site in Marion County and assistant professor in the WVU Department of Pediatrics. 

“We also have increasing numbers of children who are diagnosed with asthma in West Virginia.  This study will help us identify factors that contribute to these rising health problems for our children,” Cottrell added. 

WVU will work with Marion County officials this year to develop a community outreach plan and volunteer recruitment will begin next October.   

“Findings from this study will hopefully lead to better programs and better healthcare services for children in this state and around the country,” said Cottrell.

Study centers are located in 20 states.  WVU will perform its research in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health is one of several lead institutions involved in the study.  It received $24 million dollars from the federal government, half of which will fund WVU’s research.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are collaborating on the study.  It came about after Congress passed the Children’s Health Act of 2000. 

For more information on the National Children’s Health Study, visit http://www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov/.

- WVU -

For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
ec: 10-09-07

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