National Childrens' Study in St. Louis


A long-range national study to evaluate the health of children is beginning in St. Louis. Over the next 21 years and beyond, researchers with the National Children's Study plan to track the lives of more than 100,000 kids nationwide beginning at birth. The city of St. Louis is the first research site, and Saint Louis University is running the program locally.

Researchers are looking for newly-pregnant women or women who are hoping to become pregnant, so they can study kids not only for their entire lives, but also even before they're born. They'll collect environmental samples like dirt and drinking water to help determine what effects they have on growth and development, as well as tracking families for genetic influences.

"The study will examine how children's health is affected by many factors, including their family health history and places where they live, learn and play," said Allison King, M.D., MPH, co-principal investigator at Washington University, in a press release.

"Some of those factors occur prior to conception or during the first trimester of pregnancy, which is why we're studying children before birth. The consequences of other factors, such as environmental exposure, may take a lot of time to develop, which is why the study lasts until participants are 21 years old."

The study will only observe what's happening in a child's life -- it won't include any treatment or experimentation. Researchers will be canvassing city neighborhoods looking for women to participate in the study. Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy can volunteer to be in the study, too, by calling 866-559-0928 or by emailing For more on the study, click here.