Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
BARROS, Fernando C; VICTORA, Cesar G; HORTA, Bernardo L and GIGANTE, Denise P. Methodology of the Pelotas birth cohort study from 1982 to 2004-5, Southern Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.42, suppl.2, pp. 7-15. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102008000900003.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the methods employed in the longitudinal and follow-up studies of children born in Pelotas (Southern Brazil) in 1982. METHODS: The cohort began with a perinatal health survey that included all 6,011 children born in maternity wards in Pelotas in 1982. The 5,914 children born alive in the city were included in the follow-up studies. By 2004-5, we had conducted eight follow-ups, which consisted of the administration of questionnaires to mothers and/or cohort members, depending on age, in addition to anthropometric and clinical examination. Cohort subjects are described in terms of demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related variables collected during early follow-up studies, which are used as exposure variables. RESULTS: The majority of subjects in the cohort were followed for 23 years and on multiple occasions. The most successful follow-ups were those preceded by a city census. Using this method, we were able to locate 87.2% of subjects in 1984 (mean age 19 months), 84.1% in 1986 (mean age 43 months), and 77.4% in 2004-5, and 77.4% in 2004-5 (mean age 23 years). CONCLUSIONS: Birth cohort studies can be carried out successfully in developing countries, and the methods employed in this life-cycle study have allowed us to investigate the influence of early exposures in determining disease outcomes in adult life.
Keywords : Cohort Studies; Epidemiologic Methods; Statistical Methods and Procedures; Child Development; Human Development; Brasil.