National Children's Study Seeks to Explain Hispanic Child Health Disparities

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.

Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnic minority group in the country, and by 2050, one of every four Americans will be Hispanic. (Population projections can be found on the U.S. Census Web site at

Hispanic children today suffer disproportionately from overweight and asthma. The planned National Children's Study ( would be the largest study of the environment's effects on children's health and development ever conducted in the United States. It would follow 100,000 children from before birth to age 21. The study would include Hispanic children in accordance with their proportion of the population.

The Health of Hispanic Children

According to the Report on America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well Being, 2005, Hispanic children are less likely to have health insurance than either White or African American children. In 2003, 79 percent of Hispanic children were covered by health insurance, compared with 93 percent of White children and 86 percent of African American children. ( (PDF - 2.64 MB)).

  • Hispanic boys are the most overweight and Hispanic girls are the second most overweight of all U.S. children. (JAMA 2002;288(1):82-90)
  • Hispanic children who are overweight and have a family history of type 2 diabetes are at high risk for type 2 diabetes themselves, according to the National Diabetes Education Program.
  • Puerto Rican children have a high prevalence of asthma at 21 percent. ( (PDF - 264 MB)).

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 will help all Americans prevent health problems and keep families healthy, and may even lead to new treatments and means to prevent health


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.

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