New Centers Begin Recruiting for National Children's Study

On December 12, 2014, the NIH Director decided to close the National Children’s Study. The information on this page is not being updated and is provided for reference only.

The National Children’s Study, the federal government’s comprehensive study of how genes and the environment interact to affect children’s health, has activated five additional centers to begin recruiting prospective volunteers in five new communities. These Vanguard Centers join two centers activated previously to recruit volunteers for the feasibility phase of the study, in which the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) will review the size, scope, and cost projections for the full study. The data gleaned from the feasibility phase will be used to inform the final research design.

A total of seven Vanguard Centers were designated to conduct the feasibility phase of the study. Activation (initiation of participant recruitment) took place in two stages. Two centers were activated in January, and the remaining centers were activated this April.

The National Children’s Study is the federal government’s comprehensive study of how genes and the environment interact to affect children’s health. The study plans to track the health and development of as many as 100,000 children from before birth to adulthood. The study will enroll pregnant women in order to identify early life factors that influence later development. Researchers anticipate that the study will provide information that can be used in the prevention and treatment of a variety of conditions, such as preterm birth, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

The study was authorized in the Children’s Health Act of 2000. Government agencies leading the consortium carrying out the study are the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The study locations are counties or clusters of counties chosen by National Children’s Study researchers to be representative of children in the United States.

The Centers now beginning recruitment and their corresponding locations are:

  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, serving Montgomery County, Pa.
  • South Dakota State University, serving Brookings County, S.D. and Lincoln, Pipestone, and Yellow Medicine counties, MN;
  • University of California, Irvine, serving Orange County, Calif.
  • University of Utah serving Salt Lake County, Utah
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison and Medical College of Wisconsin, serving Waukesha County, Wis.

The first Vanguard Centers, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, began recruiting volunteers in January. A news release on the launch of the National Children’s Study appears at:

During the Vanguard pilot phase, study researchers will evaluate the recruitment and sampling methods, as well as all other methods of the study. At the end of this phase, study scientists will review the pilot experience—including scope and costs--and make any necessary adjustments to the Study before a decision is made on expanding recruitment to more sites.

As part of their recruitment activities, the Vanguard Centers will hold presentations and other community awareness activities in their respective locations to inform prospective volunteers. Prenatal care providers and clinics in the study locations will also inform their patients about the study.


The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit the Institute’s Web site at

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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