Douglas County makes history with new study

March 4, 2011

Douglas County, Colo. is making history and it’s doing so under the direction of researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health and University of Colorado School of Medicine.On March 2, 2011 representatives from the two schools, along with clinical partners at Battelle Memorial Institute, opened the National Children’s Study Douglas County field office in Lone Tree, Colo. – the site of a 25-year study marked as the nation’s largest, long-term study devoted to researching and understanding childhood health.

The opening of the field office signaled the start of a public recruitment campaign to enroll up to 1,000 Douglas County families in the study. Marketing and outreach efforts are visible throughout the community and focus on the message of improving health for generations to come.

“By participating they contribute to the health of not only this generation but future generations of children,” said principal investigator Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD.

Dr. Dabelea leads a team of epidemiologists, environmental health scientists, pediatricians and other medical professionals who will spend the next 25 years working with Douglas County participants to follow children from pre-birth to the age of 21. Researchers will gather information about environments where children live, learn and play and the relationship those environments have with a child’s genetics.  They will examine neighborhoods and schools, chemical exposures, food and water, cultural differences, geographic locations, behavior, and other factors that contribute to childhood health. Researchers will analyze the information in order to improve human health and well-being, and possibly understand the causes of diseases such as autism, diabetes and obesity.

Douglas County is one of 105 national sites, which in total will follow 100,000 children across the country. The county was selected because of its unique characteristics which include a mixture of rural and suburban communities, excellent schools and fast growing population.  For a complete list of National Children’s Study sites, visit, and then visit for more details on local participation and involvement.