The generation R study: Design and cohort update until the age of 4 years
The Generation R Study is a population-based prospective cohort study from fetal life until young adulthood. The study is designed to identify early environmental and genetic causes of normal and abnormal growth, development and health from fetal life until young adulthood. The study focuses on four primary areas of research: (1) growth and physical development; (2) behavioural and cognitive development; (3) diseases in childhood; and (4) health and healthcare for pregnant women and children. In total, 9,778 mothers with a delivery date from April 2002 until January 2006 were enrolled in the study. Of all eligible children at birth, 61% participate in the study. In addition, more detailed assessments are conducted in a subgroup of 1,232 pregnant women and their children. Data collection in the prenatal phase and postnatal phase until the age of 4 years includes questionnaires, detailed physical and ultrasound examinations, behavioural observations and biological samples. This paper gives an update of the study design and cohort profile until the children's age of 4 years. Eventually, results forthcoming from the Generation R Study have to contribute to the development of strategies for optimizing health and healthcare for pregnant women and children.