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Within the research programme LifeLines, over a period of thirty years, 165,000 residents of the Northern Netherlands will be monitored, from children via parents through to grandparents. This three-generation approach is unique in the world. The participants are called in for an examination once every five years. During this examination at set times, they are asked to complete detailed questionnaires about illness, lifestyle, health, use of medicines, eating habits, etc. In addition, various parameters are measured including blood pressure, weight, height, lung function, heart function and blood and urine values.

The central question is why some people develop a chronic illness relatively early in life while others remain vital and healthy into old age. The scientific starting point for LifeLines is that the occurrence of chronic disorders such as asthma, diabetes or kidney disease is due to a complex combination of factors. The influence of those factors and the way in which they act upon one another can only be understood by monitoring the health of a large group of people from different generations, over a long period of time. This may help to explain why some people reach a healthy old age while others suffer serious difficulties while still young.

LifeLines is the first study to involve so many life aspects from heredity and lifestyle through the physical and social factors. Only a broad-based approach of this kind can provide any in-depth understanding of the occurrence and cause of chronic diseases. The results of LifeLines should lead to the faster identification of diseases, discovering new treatment or even preventing different chronic disorders.

For more information about the LifeLines study, how to register and how to get access to data, please check the LifeLines Website below.