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Aberdeen is singled out for major health study

One of the UK’s largest studies into what affects the health of the population will be carried out in Aberdeen.

The University of Aberdeen’s Dugald Baird Centre will send out more than 8,000 questionnaires to households in the city and throughout Scotland over the next two days as part of The Children of the 1950s study, a follow up to pioneering research on children’s health 40 years ago. At that time, the health and circumstances of 12,500 primary school children were recorded.

The research team from Aberdeen, Glasgow and London has selected Aberdeen as the best city in which to carry out this research because of the city’s stable population. Although the population has grown over the last 40 years, people who live there tend to stay in the area.

Professor Marion Hall, of the Dugald Baird Centre, said that the main aim of this study will be to look at whether factors in early childhood, or even while babies are still in the womb, have an effect on their adult health and the health of their own children.

“We hope to contact everyone who was born in Aberdeen between 1950 and 1955 who attended primary school in the city at the end of 1962.  From previous surveys, we are confident that we will get a good response from people in the area and even those who have moved further afield to other parts of Scotland.”

Dr Doris Campbell, an obstetrician at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital, explained: “Any information people provide us with will be treated in complete confidence and used only for this research project. The health service is posting out the questionnaires on our behalf. It is only when people send their questionnaires back to the hospital will we be able to get in touch with them.”

Fellow researcher Professor David Leon, University of London, said: “We are just beginning to understand how things early in life can have a big effect on your health 40 or 50 years later.  Aberdeen was chosen for this research partly because it has an incredibly stable population with about eight out of 10 people staying in the area all of their lives.

“I feel very lucky to be working on this study. Aberdeen has a wonderful history of world-class research, helping improve peoples’ health.”

The results of this latest survey are expected in two years. The research will cost £200,000 and has been funded by the Medical Research Council.

ENDS

Issued by Public Relations Office, External Relations, University of Aberdeen, King's College, Aberdeen, telephone: 01224 272014, fax: 01224 272086.

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