Carolina Inhabitants Middle receives $38.2 million to review grownup well being, getting older
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received $ 38.2 million from the National Institutes of Health to continue to lead the national longitudinal study of adolescent and adult health (Add Health) as the study focuses on aging concentrated.
Based at the Carolina Population Center, Add Health is the nation’s most comprehensive long-term study involving adolescents from across the country. The study began with more than 20,000 adolescents surveyed in 1994-95. Since then, data has been collected on their educational experiences, employment, children and parents, genetics and health.
The new grants allow researchers to follow the group into their 40s and better understand how early life – during puberty and young adulthood – is important to health and well-being in middle age and beyond.
UNC Chapel Hill Professor Kathleen Mullan Harris led Add Health from 2004 to 2021, and this year UNC Chapel Hill Professors Robert Hummer and Allison Aiello take the lead.
“Research into the early signs and symptoms of health conditions that usually manifest in old age, such as cognitive impairment, age-related dysfunction and dementia, is rarely explored in early life, especially at the national level,” said Aiello. Add the assistant director of health, epidemiologists from UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, and faculty fellows from the Carolina Population Center.
“The new measures for measuring cognitive and physical function offer researchers the opportunity to examine the accumulation of risk or preventive factors for later health, decades before conditions arise in old age,” said Aiello.
Add UNC-Chapel Hill health researchers are working closely with those from RTI International, the University of Vermont and Exam One to conduct the study. The team of sociologists, psychologists, epidemiologists, doctors and research methodologists work together on study design, data acquisition and global data distribution.
Her focus in the new sixth wave of data collection is on the cognitive, mental and physical health of Add Health participants, with particular attention to the differences in health outcomes between racial and ethnic, socioeconomic and gender groups.
The newly funded research will also facilitate data collection related to rising health risks in middle age.
“Add Health grew out of a trusted, long-standing partnership between researchers, participants and donors,” said Hummer, director of Add Health and Howard W. Odum Distinguished Professor of Sociology at UNC-Chapel Hill. “It is amazing how these fundamental endeavors have evolved over many decades and continue to affect the way we understand human health.”
More than 3,500 articles have been published using Add Health data. These studies have exposed the obesity epidemic, raised awareness of high blood pressure in young adults, and pioneered how the social environment interacts with genetic markers to influence behavior and health in adulthood.
Add Health data has also helped the scientific community better understand the health disparities across the United States.