Individual Study / NHS

Nurses' Health Study

Nurses' Health Study

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Initiatives -
A large prospective investigation into the risk factors for major chronic diseases in women. Cancer is a primary focus, but the study has also produced landmark data on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many other conditions. The primary motivation for the study was to investigate the potential long-term consequences of oral contraceptives, which were being prescribed to hundreds of millions of women. Smoking, cancer, and heart disease were also studied. Over time the research focus has expanded to include research on many other lifestyle factors, behaviors, personal characteristics, and more than 30 diseases.
Start Year
National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health
Supplementary Information
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Investigators Contacts
  • Dr. Meir Stampfer
    Harvard T.H. Chan
  • Dr. Prof. Francine Grodstein
    Harvard Medical School


Study design
Population cohort
Follow Up
Every two years, cohort members receive a follow-up questionnaire with questions about diseases and health-related topics, including smoking, hormone use, and menopausal status. A food-frequency questionnaire for collecting dietary information was added in 1980 and continues to be mailed at four-year intervals. Also, a quality-of-life supplement was first included with the questionnaire in 1992 and is re-administered at regular intervals.
Supplementary Information

Marker Paper

Colditz GA, Hankinson SE. The Nurses' Health Study: lifestyle and health among women. Nat Rev Cancer. 2005 May;5(5):388-96. doi: 10.1038/nrc1608.

PUBMED 15864280


Sources of Recruitment
  • Individuals

Number of participants

Number of participants
Number of participants with biosamples
Supplementary Information
Women(nurses) ; States :California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas.


Availability of data and biosamples


Availability of access information

On the study website :

Supplementary Information