Text Alternative of Video: NICHD Research Video Series: Rebecca Clark

To view the original video, please go to Video: Why do we study behavioral health?: Rebecca Clark (07/12/2017)

Video/Graphics Audio

Camera view of high school students (mostly female, seen only from the waist down) climbing concrete stairs. Graffiti covers the stairs and the wall behind them.

[MUSIC: Instrumental music plays in the background.]

Rebecca Clark, Ph.D.: It's hard to know what's going on in the world, in the United States, in your state, when…

Camera view of a medical professional, wearing a stethoscope, talking with a teenage female patient. Both are looking at a tablet computer that the medical profession is holding.

Rebecca Clark: …all you see is the people who come into your hospital, your medical practice, or your classroom or…

Camera view of Rebecca Clark, Ph.D.

Banner text: Rebecca Clark, Ph.D.
Chief, Population Dynamics Branch, NICHD


Rebecca Clark: …the people who live in your neighborhood. What demographers and economists do and most of the research we support does is that we get samples; we get information; we get data that is representative of the entire state, the United States, or whatever country we're looking at so it can be generalized.

Camera view of Rebecca Clark

Rebecca Clark: One thing we know from repeated studies is that when you ask somebody what…

Camera view of a toddler girl holding a globe.

Rebecca Clark: …they were like when they were 5, they often can't remember, or…

Camera view of Rebecca Clark.


Rebecca Clark: …the way they remember what happened when they were 5 is biased, influenced by things that have happened to them since. So we like to collect data prospectively, going forward, so we can look at what was actually reported when you were 5 and then link it to what happens when you were, say, 23.

Camera view of Rebecca Clark.

Rebecca Clark: One of the biggest projects and best projects we've ever funded is…

Camera view of high school students playing in a school band.

Rebecca Clark: …what is now called the National Longitudinal…

Camera view looking down on a teenager from above. The teen is wearing jeans, a black shirt, and a knit hat.

Rebecca Clark: …Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. And that is the study that got a representative sample…

Camera view of Rebecca Clark.

Rebecca Clark: …of kids, seventh grade and a little older and has followed them ever since then. And they're now in middle age, and we're seeing unbelievable things that we could never do before. It was the source of the information—the first reasonable estimates of HIV infection in a young adult population that was—we didn't have the data except for Add Health. One of the amazing things that they found was that…

Camera view of a health care professional taking the blood pressure of a middle-school–age boy.

Rebecca Clark: …high blood pressure, hypertension, was a really serious problem in the United States among young adults.

Camera view of Rebecca Clark.

Rebecca Clark: We had no idea. It's—about 19 percent of young adults in this country have high blood pressure, and most of them don't know it. And it isn't even on anybody's radar. That was huge.

Camera view of several elementary-school–age children standing in front of a fence. One is holding a soccer ball.

Rebecca Clark: Another finding from Add Health is that a lot…

Camera view of Rebecca Clark.

Rebecca Clark: …of the people who, by young adulthood, are obese or overweight—you can actually identify them when they're teenagers. And being overweight or obese when you're a teenager leads to all sorts of bad health outcomes by early middle age, which suggests that the time to intervene isn't when they show up at 35 but maybe when they're 16 and they first begin gaining weight.


Video fades to logo of the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.




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