Cohort profile: Beyond birth cohort study – The Korean CHildren s ENvironmental health Study (Ko-CHENS)

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Cohort profile: Beyond birth cohort study – The Korean CHildren’s ENvironmental health Study (Ko-CHENS)


Investigation of the full spectrum of environmental health etiology in children.

Collection of molecular, clinical, and environmental data.

Integration of data from multiple sources, including national big-data systems.

Providing environmental health guidelines with enormous impact on public health.

The Korean CHildren’s ENvironmental health Study (Ko-CHENS) is a nationwide prospective birth cohort showing the correlation between the environmental exposures and the health effects to prevent the environmental diseases in children, and it provides the guidelines for the environmental hazardous factors, applying the life-course approach to the environmental-health management system. The Ko-CHENS consists of 5000 Core and 65,000 Main Cohorts. The children in the Core Cohort are followed up at 6 months, every year before their admission into the elementary school, and every 3 years from the first year after this admission. The children in the Cohort will be followed up through the data links (Statistics Korea, National Health Insurance Service [NHIS], and Ministry of Education). The individual biospecimens will be analyzed for 19 substances. The long-term-storage biological samples will be used for the further substance analysis. The Ko-CHENS will investigate whether the environmental variables including the perinatal outdoor and indoor factors and the greenness contribute causally to the health outcomes in the children and adolescents. In addition to the individual surveys, the assessments of the outdoor exposures and health outcomes will use the national air-quality monitoring data and claim data of the NHIS, respectively. The two big-data forms of the Ko-CHENS are as follows: The Ko-CHENS data that can be linked with the nationally registered NHIS health-related database, including the medical utilization and the periodic health screening, and the birth/mortality database in the Statistics; the other is the Big-CHENS dataset that is based on the NHIS mother delivery code, for which the follow-up of almost 97% of the total birth population is expected. The Ko-CHENS is a very cost-effective study that fully exploits the existing national big-data systems with the data linkage.

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