2018 Volume 28 Issue 2 Pages 99-104
Background: The Japan Environment and Children’s Study (JECS), known as Ecochil-Chosa in Japan, is a nationwide birth cohort study investigating the environmental factors that might affect children’s health and development. We report the baseline profiles of the participating mothers, fathers, and their children.
Methods: Fifteen Regional Centres located throughout Japan were responsible for recruiting women in early pregnancy living in their respective recruitment areas. Self-administered questionnaires and medical records were used to obtain such information as demographic factors, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, environmental exposure, medical history, and delivery information. In the period up to delivery, we collected bio-specimens, including blood, urine, hair, and umbilical cord blood. Fathers were also recruited, when accessible, and asked to fill in a questionnaire and to provide blood samples.
Results: The total number of pregnancies resulting in delivery was 100,778, of which 51,402 (51.0%) involved program participation by male partners. Discounting pregnancies by the same woman, the study included 95,248 unique mothers and 49,189 unique fathers. The 100,778 pregnancies involved a total of 101,779 fetuses and resulted in 100,148 live births. The coverage of children in 2013 (the number of live births registered in JECS divided by the number of all live births within the study areas) was approximately 45%. Nevertheless, the data on the characteristics of the mothers and children we studied showed marked similarity to those obtained from Japan’s 2013 Vital Statistics Survey.
Conclusions: Between 2011 and 2014, we established one of the largest birth cohorts in the world.