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Douglas County to impact the health of America’s children

by Patte Smith

While on the way to the November Leadership Douglas County program, Health Care and Social Services Day, Carla Kenny didn’t realize she was about to hear some remarkable news. This news not only impacts Douglas County, but the entire country. Douglas County has been chosen to participate in The National Children’s Study — the largest long-term study of environmental and genetic influences on children in the United States.

The study will be conducted in Douglas County and 104 other locations around the U.S. One hundred thousand children from birth to age 21 will be randomly selected to participate in this in-depth study. Locations throughout the country were selected to ensure a comprehensive sample of the entire nation with ethnic, racial, economic, geographic, religious and social structures playing a significant role.

Douglas County women who are pregnant, or women who are likely to become pregnant, will be invited to participate in the study. Potential participates will be chosen from select neighborhoods in the county to join the study. “The county was divided into sections and then smaller sections so a cross-sampling of our residents would be balanced,” explains Kenny. “The goal is to follow 1,000 children from Douglas County. It is an incredible opportunity for some of the women in our county to participate in a study that will impact future generations.”

The goal of the Study is to improve the health and well-being of children and contribute to understanding the various factors that impact health and disease. Health issues such as pregnancy problems, birth defects, asthma, autism and diabetes will be examined, as well as behavior, learning and mental health disorders.

The facts revealed by the study will aid health professionals in assessing links between children’s environments and their health. These findings will also provide researchers, health care professionals, and public health officials with information from which to develop prevention strategies and health and safety guidelines, as well as to guide future research.

“In the long-run, this will not only benefit the health of children, but our children when they become adults,” Kenny explained. “This is a tremendous opportunity to impact the county, our state, and our country. We were surprised and very excited about being included in this nation-wide program.”

For more information on the study or to register as a participant, contact www.nationalchildrensstudy.gov.

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