This issue of the Journal features collaborative follow-up studies of two unique pregnancy cohorts recruited during 1959–1966 in the United States. Here we introduce the Early Determinants of Adult Health (EDAH) study. EDAH was designed to compare health outcomes in midlife (age 40s) for same-sex siblings discordant on birthweight for gestational age. A sufficient sample of discordant siblings could only be obtained by combining these two cohorts in a single follow-up study. All of the subsequent six papers are either based upon the EDAH sample or are related to it in various ways. For example, three papers report results from studies that significantly extended the ‘core’ EDAH sample to address specific questions.
We first present the overall design of and rationale for the EDAH study. Then we offer a synopsis of past work with the two cohorts to provide a context for both EDAH and the related studies. Next, we describe the recruitment and assessment procedures for the core EDAH sample. This includes the process of sampling and recruitment of potential participants; a comparison of those who were assessed and not assessed based on archived data; the methods used in the adult follow-up assessment; and the characteristics at follow-up of those who were assessed. We provide online supplementary tables with much further detail. Finally, we note further work in progress on EDAH and related studies, and draw attention to the broader implications of this endeavor.