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The Importance of Childhood for Adult Health and Development—Study Protocol of the Zurich Longitudinal Studies


Wehrle, Flavia M; Caflisch, Jon; Eichelberger, Dominique A; Haller, Giulia; Latal, Beatrice; Largo, Remo H; Kakebeeke, Tanja H; Jenni, Oskar (2021). The Importance of Childhood for Adult Health and Development—Study Protocol of the Zurich Longitudinal Studies. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 14:612453.

Abstract

Evidence is accumulating that individual and environmental factors in childhood and adolescence should be considered when investigating adult health and aging-related processes. The data required for this is gathered by comprehensive long-term longitudinal studies. This article describes the protocol of the Zurich Longitudinal Studies (ZLS), a set of three comprehensive cohort studies on child growth, health, and development that are currently expanding into adulthood. Between 1954 and 1961, 445 healthy infants were enrolled in the first ZLS cohort. Their physical, motor, cognitive, and social development and their environment were assessed comprehensively across childhood, adolescence, and into young adulthood. In the 1970s, two further cohorts were added to the ZLS and assessed with largely matched study protocols: Between 1974 and 1979, the second ZLS cohort included 265 infants (103 term-born and 162 preterm infants), and between 1970 and 2002, the third ZLS cohort included 327 children of participants of the first ZLS cohort. Since 2019, the participants of the three ZLS cohorts have been traced and invited to participate in a first wave of assessments in adulthood to investigate their current health and development. This article describes the ZLS study protocol and discusses opportunities, methodological and conceptual challenges, and limitations arising from a long-term longitudinal cohort recruited from a study about development in early life. In the future, the ZLS will provide data to investigate childhood antecedents of adult health outcomes and, ultimately, will help respond to the frequent call of scientists to shift the focus of aging research into the first decades of life and, thus, to take a lifespan perspective on aging.

Abstract

Evidence is accumulating that individual and environmental factors in childhood and adolescence should be considered when investigating adult health and aging-related processes. The data required for this is gathered by comprehensive long-term longitudinal studies. This article describes the protocol of the Zurich Longitudinal Studies (ZLS), a set of three comprehensive cohort studies on child growth, health, and development that are currently expanding into adulthood. Between 1954 and 1961, 445 healthy infants were enrolled in the first ZLS cohort. Their physical, motor, cognitive, and social development and their environment were assessed comprehensively across childhood, adolescence, and into young adulthood. In the 1970s, two further cohorts were added to the ZLS and assessed with largely matched study protocols: Between 1974 and 1979, the second ZLS cohort included 265 infants (103 term-born and 162 preterm infants), and between 1970 and 2002, the third ZLS cohort included 327 children of participants of the first ZLS cohort. Since 2019, the participants of the three ZLS cohorts have been traced and invited to participate in a first wave of assessments in adulthood to investigate their current health and development. This article describes the ZLS study protocol and discusses opportunities, methodological and conceptual challenges, and limitations arising from a long-term longitudinal cohort recruited from a study about development in early life. In the future, the ZLS will provide data to investigate childhood antecedents of adult health outcomes and, ultimately, will help respond to the frequent call of scientists to shift the focus of aging research into the first decades of life and, thus, to take a lifespan perspective on aging.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Biological Psychiatry, Behavioral Neuroscience, Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology, Neurology, Psychiatry and Mental health
Language:English
Date:28 January 2021
Deposited On:04 Feb 2021 15:25
Last Modified:07 Mar 2021 08:58
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1662-5161
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2020.612453

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