UT to Have Hand in Broadest-Ever Child Development Study

UT will have a hand in the largest longitudinal study of children’s development ever undertaken, thanks to the leadership of a researcher in the School of Human Ecology.

The National Children’s Study, set to begin in 2012, will study the effects of air, water, dust, diet, and other factors on child growth and development by following children (and their parents) from periconception to age 21. Some 100,000 families will participate.

Michele Forman, who joined the faculty in August from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, will lead the Travis County study location. Travis County is one of 125 sites chosen from across the country to participate in the study.

The study has the “broadest shape” of any longitudinal observational study ever undertaken, its sponsors say. It will collect more samples, specimens, measurements, and health history than any study ever before performed.

On Friday, Forman told a group of School of Human Ecology alumni and supporters that she is now beginning to train local study leaders in earnest.

Underscoring the broad reach of the School of Human Ecology into human health and quality-of-life issues, Forman spoke on a panel about the challenges children will face in the next decade, from epidemic obesity levels to escalating school violence to rising rates of pediatric cancer and other diseases.

Also speaking were nutritional sciences professor and cancer researcher John Digiovanni, human development professor Elizabeth Gershoff, and Flawn Child and Family Laboratory director Rhonda Hauser.

Photo by Ron Sombilon Gallery via Flickr Creative Commons


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