JA Kids is Jamaica’s second birth cohort study and includes every baby born in Jamaica between July 1, 2011 and September 30, 2011. These babies are very special babies who we will follow through their lives. Our first birth cohort study took place 27 years ago in 1986 and we last saw the children from that study when they were 21 years as young adults.
The JA Kids 2011 Birth Cohort Study is designed to identify risk factors associated with poor maternal and birth outcomes. We are collecting primary, longitudinal data on the physical and emotional wellbeing of parents and their children in Jamaica, beginning with the first 2 years of the child’s life. It is expected that this study will have a significant impact on policies, programmes and interventions for children and the public and ultimately improve the health and well-being of Jamaica’s children by impacting health and education policy.
JA KIDS aims to improve the health, developmental and behavioural outcomes for Jamaican children, by obtaining current and detailed information on factors that influence health, disease and social and emotional development in young children. Specifically, the JA KIDS’ team has outlined the following objectives:
To determine the impact of the prenatal environment, including paternal and maternal physical and mental health and well-being and exposure to infectious, allergic and environmental toxins, on children’s growth, health (specifically mortality and morbidity) and development.
To determine the impact of the early socio-emotional environment in the home and other care settings on young children's growth, health (specifically mortality and morbidity), development and behaviour.
To determine the impact of the varied aspects of the physical environments including the physical surroundings, as determined by socio-economic status, and exposure to environmental toxins in the early years on young children's growth, health (specifically mortality and morbidity) and development.
To determine the impact of genetic factors on children’s growth, health and development such as those associated with autism, prematurity, heart defects, cleft lip and neural tube defects.
To determine the inter-relationships among young children's gender and environments (physical, biological, socio-emotional, genetic, environmental) and their relative impacts on child outcomes.
To collect data on young children, including biological samples, that would form the basis for a longitudinal study that would assist in determining the impact of the varied early years environments on long term child and adolescent development.
Using the information obtained in 1 - 7 above, make evidenced based recommendations to the Government of Jamaica to inform Early Childhood Policies and Programmes and thereby improve the outcomes of children.