Researchers from the National Centre for Population Health & Wellbeing Research have developed a unique birth cohort which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of families growing up in Wales.
Recently published in BMJ Open, the Born in Wales cohort profile offers a detailed understanding of the birth cohort. Birth cohorts, which involve tracking a group of individuals born around the same time over an extended period – allow researchers to gain valuable insights into their development, experiences, and health outcomes.
Established in 2020, Born in Wales links maternity, parental, and child data, creating a comprehensive country-wide birth cohort.
By merging census information with health, social care, and education data, Born in Wales uses the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank to unlock valuable insights for life course research.
Born in Wales has gathered data from 2011 to 2023 for over 400,000 children in Wales. To supplement and expand this data, Born in Wales conducts surveys to collect responses from parents and primary school children.
The cohort is made up of:
- All children born in Wales since 2011, with follow-ups conducted until they finish primary school at 11.
- 51% were female and 49% were male participants.
- 7.8% of children from ethnic minority backgrounds.
- 26.8% are under age 5, while 63.2% are aged 5-11.
A Growing Cohort
Born in Wales will add 30,000 new births annually in Wales to the cohort while adding follow-up data for children and parents already in the database.
Researchers will look to add supplementary datasets, including primary care, hospital data, educational attainment, and social care.
Born in Wales will explore research areas, such as the long-term implications of COVID-19 on child health and development, the impact of environmental factors like climate change on health, and the influence of parental work environments on child well-being.
Patient & Public Involvement helping shape the research
Born in Wales values Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in shaping the research and is seeking out a dedicated PPI steering group to provide feedback from the public including midwives, health visitors, expectant parents, and new parents.
Hope Jones, Born in Wales researcher, said: “Born in Wales has established a comprehensive, Wales-wide population-based database, linking clinical data from maternity, neonatal, child health, and education records. Our national-scale database is further enriched by the inclusion of quantitative and qualitative results from surveys, providing invaluable insights that cannot be obtained through routinely collected data alone.
Born in Wales, data can help inform targeted interventions promoting healthy growth and development for children living in Wales.”
Professor Sinead Brophy, Director of the National Centre for Population Health & Wellbeing Research, added: ” I am excited about the immense potential this birth cohort offers, not just for Wales but for potential collaborations in the UK and globally.
Following on from publishing our cohort profile, we are now looking to connect with fellow researchers in the UK and globally to explore opportunities for combining resources, data, and expertise.”
If you are a researcher interested in finding out more about the Born in Wales cohort, then contact Hope Jones on email@example.com