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.
African Americans make up a substantial percentage of the nation's population. (Population projections can be found on the U.S. Census Web site in Table 1a at https://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-5.pdf (PDF - 504 KB).
African Americans suffer disproportionately from low birth weight, infant mortality, and obesity. The planned National Children's Study (https://www.nichd.nih.gov/research/NCS/Pages/default.aspx) would be the largest research study of the environment's effects on children's health and development ever conducted in the United States. The study would follow 100,000 children from before birth to age 21. It would include African American children in accordance with their proportion of the population.
The Health of African American Children One-quarter of the African American population lives in poverty, which negatively influences health status and complicates access to health services. (The U.S. Census Bureau provides detailed poverty statistics in Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004 at https://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p60-229.pdf (PDF - 3.64 MB). In addition, African American children bear a disproportionate burden of many health problems. For example:
- The percentage of pre-term birth and low birth weight is significantly higher among African American infants than among infants of any other ethnic group. (Preterm birth: https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/pdflib/195/99.pdf (PDF - 105 KB); Low birth weight: https://www.childstats.gov/pubs/pubs.asp?PlacementID=2&SlpgID=4. Please see indicator HEALTH5.)
- Infant, child, and adolescent mortality rates are higher for African Americans than for any other ethnic group. (https://www.childstats.gov/pubs/pubs.asp?PlacementID=2&SlpgID=4). Please see indicators HEALTH, HEALTH 7.A, and HEALTH 8.A.)
- African American girls are among those at highest risk for overweight. (https://www.childstats.gov/pubs/pubs.asp?PlacementID=2&SlpgID=4; Please see indicator HEALTH3.)
Through the planned National Children's Study, researchers hope to uncover the root causes of health disparities and ultimately reduce the health disparities experienced by all groups. Study findings would help all Americans prevent health problems and keep families healthy, and might even lead to new treatments and means to prevent health disorders.
The NICHD is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the biomedical research arm of the federal government. NIH is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth; maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation.