The objective of the “Outcomes Study” is to determine whether it is possible to link certain risk factors for heart disease (overweight and obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking) measured during childhood and adolescence with the development of heart disease (coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, heart failure, stroke, transient ischemic attack, and aneurysm) in middle-aged adults.

Beginning in the 1970s in the United States (Bogalusa, LA; Muscatine, IA; Cincinnati, OH; Minneapolis, MN), Finland and Australia, long-term observational studies of risk factors for heart disease were independently started in groups of school children.  These studies continued through childhood and into early- and middle- adulthood.  The information obtained, which has been widely published, shows that, although heart disease itself rarely occurs in children, the risk factors for adult heart disease begin to increase during the childhood years.  While most physicians believe that these increased risk factors in childhood are associated with the development of adult disease, this association has never actually been shown. We believe this important question can be answered by obtaining health information from the individuals who were studied when they were children and are now middle-aged adults, and the answer will result in the development of new approaches that could be introduced during childhood in order to decrease the high incidence of adult heart disease.

In 2009, the U.S., Finnish and Australian studies formed the International Childhood Cardiovascular Cohort (i3C) Consortium; they are now collaborating in an international study sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.  Each site is attempting to locate the individuals (n=41,006 total) who participated in the childhood studies in order to have them complete a Heart Health Survey that includes questions about their current health, and, in particular, whether they have ever been diagnosed with any type of heart disease.  Individuals can complete the Heart Health Survey by returning a mailed version of the Survey, completing an online version, or participating in a telephone interview.  For individuals with a history of heart disease, medical records will be reviewed to confirm the reported heart disease history.

The researchers working on this study believe that 30,000 of the individuals who joined the studies in the 1970s when they were children will participate in this Outcomes Study.  These individuals are part of a group that probably will never be duplicated.  As such, they present a unique opportunity to learn how risk factors measured during childhood can affect heart disease in adulthood.



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