Largest-ever kids health study recruits Chicago families

The longest and most sweeping study of women’s and children’s health ever conducted kicked off Tuesday, with Chicago as one of its host locations.

How to participate

To find out if you qualify for the study, call 866-315-7124.
Visit the NCS website at nationalchildrensstudy.org for more
information. NCS is currently recruiting in Cook Country, but will
expand its study into Will and DuPage counties next year.

Cook County is one of the 105 study sites in the National Children’s Study, which will follow 100,000 U.S. children and their families from birth to 21 years. Recruitment began Tuesday, and the study is looking for 2,000 families across 15 communities, including Hyde Park, Englewood and Rogers Park. Researchers are looking for women between ages 18 and 49 who are pregnant or may be become pregnant, and will expand its search area into Will and DuPage counties next year.

“This is a unique opportunity to help contribute to a study that is one of the most important that has ever occurred in the United States,” says Daniel Johnson, co-investigator of NCS-Greater Chicago Study Center.

Chicago’s large population, much of at high risk for certain diseases, make the city a hotspot for researchers. For example, obesity affects 28 percent of all children in Chicago but only 19 percent of children across the country.

The study will examine how environmental factors and family history affect the health and development of children.

“For me, what’s important is that public health professionals, health providers and policymakers can come together and work out strategies to address problems in this country,” says Arden Handler, co-investigator of NCS-Greater Chicago Study Center.

Chicago parents are on board — even if it means filling out a few more forms over the next several years.

Machya Curry, a Rogers Park mom of two, says she thinks the study will benefit future parents.

“I think it’s really important to know what’s going on,” she says. “My 5-year-old is sick all the time and it’s stressful and hard.”

Kelly Wildermuth is a mom of three boys, one of whom has a severe peanut allergy.

“As a mom, I’m always trying to make sure to make healthy, safe decisions for my children,” she says. “This study will alleviate the guess work in parenting.”

Lyberti Nelson is a Chicago Parent intern.

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