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Am J Epidemiol. 2007 Sep 1;166(5):606-15. Epub 2007 Jun 22.

A prospective cohort of American Indian and Alaska Native people: study design, methods, and implementation.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84108, USA.


In 2001, the National Cancer Institute funded three centers to test the feasibility of establishing a cohort of American Indian and Alaska Native people. Participating tribal organizations named the study EARTH (Education and Research Towards Health). This paper describes the study methods. A computerized data collection and tracking system was developed using audio computer-assisted survey methodology with touch screens. Data were collected on diet, physical activity, lifestyle and cultural practices, medical and reproductive history, and family history of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. In addition, a small panel of medical measurements was obtained, including height, weight, waist and hip circumferences, blood pressure, and a lipid panel plus glucose. At the completion of the enrollment visit, data were used to provide immediate health feedback to study participants. During the initial funding period, the authors anticipate enrolling 16,000 American Indian and Alaska Native participants. The age distribution of the study population was similar to that reported in the 2000 US Census for the relevant populations. A component critical to the success of the EARTH Study has been the partnerships with tribal members. The study has focused on involvement of American Indian and Alaska Native communities in development and implementation and on provision of feedback to participants and communities.

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