Children's Health
5:21 pm
Thu December 9, 2010

St. Louis joins National Children's Study of health

St. Louis is joining the National Children's Study, the largest long-term study of child health ever conducted in the United States.

The study will follow 100,000 children nationwide from before birth to age 21.

Local study leader Louise Flick of Saint Louis University's School of Public Health says more than 4,000 children from St. Louis City, Jefferson County, and southwestern Illinois will be asked to participate.

"We'll be taking air samples, soil samples, dust samples in the home, water samples, Flick said. "We will be taking biological samples from the parents and from the children as indicators of what they've been exposed to."

The sampling will start even before the children are born. "The first six weeks of development is a particularly vulnerable time to exposures, chemical exposures,” Flick said.

Flick says the ultimate goal is to better understand how environmental factors may be contributing to conditions like autism, asthma, and childhood obesity.