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family dining with adult health and aging study by August de Richelieu pexels

Add Health, now in its 28th year, just received a new round of funding. (photo courtesy of August de Richelieu/pexels)

$38.2 million NIH grants will support study of adolescent-to-adult health

The Carolina Population Center has received two grants, providing an expected $38.2 million over five years, that together will fund a new wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health). Now entering its 28th year of National Institutes of Health funding, Add Health is the largest, most comprehensive, nationally representative and longitudinal study of the health of adolescents who have now aged into adulthood ever undertaken in the United States.

The new grants, funded primarily by the National Institute on Aging with co-funding from five other NIH institutes and offices, will enable researchers to follow the original adolescent cohort into their 40s with a sixth wave of data collection and dissemination. This five-year project will focus on the cognitive, mental and physical health of Add Health participants, with particular attention given to disparities in health across racial/ethnic, socioeconomic and gender subgroups of the population.

The project will collect a new round of social and biological data from as many of the original 20,000+ respondents as possible, who live in all 50 states, when they are in their mid-40s.

The study’s new director, Robert Hummer, is the Howard W. Odum Distinguished Professor in the department of sociology. Kathleen Mullan Harris, the James E. Haar Distinguished Professor of Sociology, who served as the director of Add Health from 2004 to 2021, stated that “the new wave of data collection will advance knowledge for how early life — during adolescence and young adulthood — matters for health and well-being in midlife.”

Harris will continue to serve as one of the study’s research investigators for the next five years.