Rationale and study design of the Japan environment and children's study (JECS)

Toshihiro Kawamoto, Hiroshi Nitta, Katsuyuki Murata, Eisaku Toda, Naoya Tsukamoto, Manabu Hasegawa, Zentaro Yamagata, Fujio Kayama, Reiko Kishi, Yukihiro Ohya, Hirohisa Saito, Haruhiko Sago, Makiko Okuyama, Tsutomu Ogata, Susumu Yokoya, Yuji Koresawa, Yasuyuki Shibata, Shoji Nakayama, Takehiro Michikawa, Ayano TakeuchiHiroshi Satoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

493 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is global concern over significant threats from a wide variety of environmental hazards to which children face. Large-scale and long-term birth cohort studies are needed for better environmental management based on sound science. The primary objective of the Japan Environment and Children's Study (JECS), a nation-wide birth cohort study that started its recruitment in January 2011, is to elucidate environmental factors that affect children's health and development. Methods/Design. Approximately 100,000 expecting mothers who live in designated study areas will be recruited over a 3-year period from January 2011. Participating children will be followed until they reach 13 years of age. Exposure to environmental factors will be assessed by chemical analyses of bio-specimens (blood, cord blood, urine, breast milk, and hair), household environment measurements, and computational simulations using monitoring data (e.g. ambient air quality monitoring) as well as questionnaires. JECS' priority outcomes include reproduction/pregnancy complications, congenital anomalies, neuropsychiatric disorders, immune system disorders, and metabolic/endocrine system disorders. Genetic factors, socioeconomic status, and lifestyle factors will also be examined as covariates and potential confounders. To maximize representativeness, we adopted provider-mediated community-based recruitment. Discussion. Through JECS, chemical substances to which children are exposed during the fetal stage or early childhood will be identified. The JECS results will be translated to better risk assessment and management to provide healthy environment for next generations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 10
Externally publishedYes


  • Birth cohort
  • Children
  • Environmental chemicals
  • Growth and development
  • Pregnant women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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