Cumberland County, N.C. chosen to be part of National Children's Study: UNC directs the study in N.C.

Oct 3, 2008

News Release

Friday, October 3, 2008

CHAPEL HILL - Cumberland County, N.C. has been selected to be part of the National Children's Study, a multi-million dollar, decades-long project which focuses on the health and well-being of children throughout the United States.

The National Children's Study researches the effects of social, behavioral, biological, community, and environmental factors on human health and development. It is the largest longitudinal study of its kind ever to be conducted in the United States.

The project will ultimately track 100,000 children in the United States from before birth through the age of 21 to explore causes of health problems such as obesity, injuries, heart disease, asthma and developmental delays. A total of 105 counties throughout the United States eventually will be part of the study.

Juanita Pilgrim, Deputy County Manager of Cumberland County, indicates "this study will help us look at where we are now with children's health and, as a result of the study, the community will be able to identify issues and establish programs that will ultimately lead to an improved quality of life for all children."

The Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will direct the work in Cumberland County. Four other counties in North Carolina are already part of the study: Duplin County in the southeastern part of the state, Rockingham County and Durham County in central North Carolina and Burke County which is in the western part of the state. The Carolina Population Center leads the study in these counties as well, under the direction of Barbara Entwisle, Ph.D., director of the center and Kenan Professor of Sociology at UNC.

Project partners include Duke University and Battelle Memorial Institute. The lead researchers for Cumberland County are Margarita Mooney, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a fellow at the Carolina Population Center, and Lynne Messer, Ph.D., a researcher in the Health Inequalities Program of the Center for Health Policy at the Duke Global Health Institute.

"This landmark study has the potential for benefiting children and their families in Cumberland County and across the United States.  We will be looking at a wide variety of factors that may affect children's health, and through this work, we hope all children will be healthier throughout their lives," said Mooney.

Outreach to community members is an important aspect of the study and will be the focus of the initial steps of the study in Cumberland County. Community members in the health, education, faith, and government sectors will be involved, including those in the military and those who are not in the military. Messer said, "Cumberland County represents a diverse community and it is critical that the National Children's Study have a broad representation of America's children.  We're looking forward to working with many members of the Cumberland County community on this important study." 

The National Children's Study is a collaboration of several federal agencies: The National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

For more about the National Children's Study Project: or


Juanita Pilgrim can be reached at (910) 678-7724 or
Margarita Mooney can be reached at (919) 966-0265 or (919) 962-4524 or   
Lynne Messer can be reached at (919) 681-4442 or

Carolina Population Center contact:
Lori Delaney, (919) 966-4562,


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