Nurses Health Study No. 3

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Nurses Health Study No. 3

Wanted: 100,000 participants

By Elizabeth Hanink, RN, BSN, PHN
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One of the world’s largest longitudinal health studies continues apace. Sponsored by the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the Nurses’ Health Study project began in 1976, expanded in 1989 and is growing again.

To date, 238,000 nurses have contributed to the project’s three research studies and each of the questionnaires has achieved a remarkable 90 percent response rate.

  • Nurses’ Health Study No. 1 examined potential risk factors for cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

  • Study No. 2 focused on lifestyle and dietary risk factors in women younger than the population considered in the first study.

  • Study No. 3, which began in 2010, is examining factors related to fertility and pregnancy, environment and work exposure.

The Nurses’ Health Study project is one of medical research’s most important sources of information. The project has changed the way research on women is conducted and greatly improved our understanding of major illnesses.

It is hard to imagine today, but before this project began, there was little real scientific evidence of the dangers of smoking, inactivity and trans fats, much less the benefits of whole grains and regular exercise. Much of what is known today about lifestyle choices and their impact on health comes from these studies.

Nurses’ Health Study No. 3 is the first of the studies to be entirely web-based. It also aims to expand the diversity of the study group. The ultimate goal is to have 100,000 nurses participate.  If you are female, between the ages of 20 and 46 and a nurse or nursing student in the United States or Canada, you can join.

It’s easy to sign up and more than 25,000 nurses already have. For an application and more information, visit 

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