The DNBC was established to investigate the causal link between exposures in early life and disease later on and the possibilites for disease prevention.
The DNBC was established to investigate the causal link between exposures in early life and disease later on and the possibilites for disease prevention.

About the DNBC

Prospectively collected exposure data, an exceptionally large sample size and the opportunity to follow all participants through linkages to national health registries - these are the main strenghts of the Danish National Birth cohort.

Recent research supports the view that the time from conception to childhood is important for health in later stages of life. Diseases such as cardiovascular morbidity, cancer, mental illnesses, asthma and allergy may all have component causes that act early in life. The Danish National Birth Cohort (Better health in generations) was established to investigate the causal link between exposures in early life and disease later on and the possibilites for disease prevention.

A large cohort of pregnant women with long-term follow-up of the offspring was the obvious choice because many of the exposures of interest cannot be reconstructed with suffcient validity back in time. The study needed to be large, and the aim was to recruit 100,000 women early in pregnancy, and to continue follow-up for decades.

The Nordic countries are well suited for this kind of research because of their population-based registers on diseases, demography and social conditions, linkable at the individual level by means of the unique ID-number given to all citizens.

Data and biological samples

In the DNBC initial data collection information was collected by computer-assisted telephone interviews with the women twice during pregnancy and when their children were six and 18 months old. Participants were also asked to fill in a self-administered food frequency questionnaire in mid-pregnancy. Furthermore, a biological bank was set up with blood taken from the mother twice during pregnancy and blood from the umbilical cord taken shortly after birth. Data collection started in 1996 and the project covered all regions in Denmark in 1999. By August 2000, a total of 60,000 pregnant women had been recruited to the study. In October 2002, we reached our goal of 100.000 recruitments.

Data collection expanded

The cohort has expanded its initial data collection with several later data sweeps. Please look at the page Data Available for a full overview of the DNBC data collections.