BY NANCY DILLON
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Tuesday, January 13th 2009, 3:49 PM
How do rugrats from Queens stack up against ankle-biters from rural North Carolina? We’ll know in 2030.
Hundreds of babies from Queens and Duplin County, N.C., are the subjects of the largest ever long-term study of children’s health.
The National Children’s Study, which starts today and will eventually include 100,000 children across the country, plans to follow kids from birth to age 21 to study the environmental and genetic causes of chronic conditions such as asthma, autism, birth defects, diabetes and obesity.
Queens and Duplin County, N.C., were chosen as the spearhead locations because they represent the two ends of the study’s spectrum, said Barbara Entwisle, principal investigator and director of the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Duplin County is a sparsely populated, proud southern county with 844 births last year. Queens is a densely settled, metropolitan environment with hundreds of languages spoken and about 30,000 births a year,” she said.
“Our study is broadly conceived, focusing on chemical exposure, air pollution, pesticides, nutrition, poverty, crime, genetics. If you look at the problems of children’s health, such as obesity and asthma, all of these are likely influenced by environmental factors.”
Dr. Philip Landrigan at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine will direct the project in Queens.
The study is funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health.