National Children’s Study
Definition (and Description)
The National Children’s Study (NCS) was planned to be the largest, longitudinal study of US children and their parents. It was designed to be “the first large birth cohort study in any nation to specifically examine the influence of environmental factors on birth outcomes, child health, and human development and the first designed to systematically examine the influence of gene-environment interactions on children’s health.” (Landrigan et al. 2006). It was authorized by the Children’s Health Act of 2000 and led by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in collaboration with a consortium of federal government partners. The NCS Vanguard (Pilot) Study began in 2009, testing methods and procedures planned for use in a larger Main Study. When recruitment ended in July 2013, the Vanguard Study had enrolled approximately 5,000 children in 40 locations across the country. The planned NCS Main Study aimed to follow 100,000 children from before birth to 21years of age. After several years of piloting, the Main Study had still not been launched and on December 12, 2014, the NIH Director decided to close the study following the advice of an expert review group.