The Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study. The past (1976-1996) and future (1997-?)

H C Kemper, W van Mechelen, G B Post, J Snel, J W Twisk, F J van Lenthe, D C Welten

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This article presents an overview of the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study (AGAHLS). This study was started in the 1970s, following a whole sample of 500 healthy 13-year-old boys and girls from two secondary schools. During the school period (12-17 years) annual measurements were performed with respect to anthropometrics, physiological and psychological parameters, lifestyle characteristics (activity, diet, smoking) and health parameters. A multiple longitudinal design was applied with overlapping birth cohorts and a cross-sectional measured control group to monitor for confounding factors such as time of measurement, cohort, dropout and testing effects. Emphasis is also placed on measures that enhance adherence of the subjects. The follow-up was extended with repeated measurements at age 21, 26 and 28. This enabled us to analyze the data with respect to tracking characteristics of biological and lifestyle variables over a period of 15 years between adolescence and adulthood and also to investigate quasi-causal relationships between the effects of a healthy lifestyle and indicators for cardiovascular diseases (CVD). Also new methods such as measurement of atherosclerosis and osteoporosis will be added and related to longitudinal measurements of the same subjects in the past. The main results that were obtained in the past are summarized and research questions for the near future are explained.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S140-50
JournalInternational Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume18 Suppl 3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997

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