Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children

Children of the 90s

Established in 1991, the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) charts the lives of 14,500 people born in the former county of Avon between April 1991 and December 1992 as well as the lives of their parents and their children, where applicable.

Based at the University of Bristol, ALSPAC is the most detailed study of its kind in the world, providing a rich resource for the study of the environmental, biological and genetic factors that affect health and development.

People born between April 1991 and December 1992 in the former county of Avon and members of their family can take part, even if they’ve since moved out of the area or overseas.

Data is collected via questionnaires, clinical assessments, biological samples and data linkage. A data dictionary provides an overview of all available data.

In recent years, ALSPAC has started to recruit and collect data on the children of the original children (COCO90s) who number 620 (as of March 2017) and their non-ALSPAC parent

Over 1,600 papers have been published using ALSPAC data. Important discoveries include:

  • Eating oily fish in pregnancy can boost a child’s IQ
  • Size zero is bad for bones
  • Some people have a genetic variant that means they don’t produce body odour
  • Time outdoors is good for children’s eyesight
  • Peanut oil in baby creams and lotions can lead to peanut allergy

Sample design

Management and funding

ALSPAC is funded by the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the University of Bristol. It is managed by a team based at the University of Bristol which is led by the scientific director, Professor George Davey Smith; the principal investigator, Dr Nic Timpson and Ms Lynn Molloy, the executive director.

Accessing the data

ALSPAC has governance and access arrangements that comply with MRC data sharing policy. The data is accessible to bona fide researchers by applying through the ALSPAC online proposal system. The ALSPAC access policy describes the process in detail.

The ALSPAC website provides copies of the documentation used in the study. The website also provides a data dictionary and a variable catalogue, to help users make a formal request for data.

Cohort profile

Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children:

Fraser, A., Macdonald-Wallis, C., Tilling, K., Boyd, A., Golding, J., Davey Smith, G., Henderson, J., Macleod, J., Molloy, L., Ness, A., Ring, S., Nelson, S.M., Lawlor, D.A.; Cohort Profile: The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children: ALSPAC mothers cohort. Int J Epidemiol 2013; 42 (1): 97-110. doi: 10.1093/ije/dys066

Children of the 90s:

Boyd, A., Golding, J., Macleod, J., Lawlor, D.A., Fraser, A., Henderson, J., Molloy, L., Ness, A., Ring, S., Davey Smith, G.; Cohort Profile: The ‘Children of the 90s’—the index offspring of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. Int J Epidemiol 2013; 42 (1): 111-127. doi: 10.1093/ije/dys064