Videos available: CLOSER Seminar – What can we learn from linking area data to longitudinal studies? ShareThis


This online CLOSER Seminar focused on longitudinal research using linked area data. It featured two talks from Emla Fitzsimons & Nicolas Libuy (UCL Centre for Longitudinal Studies), and Tiffany Yang (Born in Bradford). Recordings and presentation slides are available below.

About the CLOSER Seminars

The aim of the seminar series to highlight methodological innovations and expertise, and in turn, facilitate and encourage future collaborations and new research.


Emla Fitzsimons is the Director of the UK Millennium Cohort Study, a longitudinal birth cohort study following children born at the turn of the new century. Her research is focused on the development of human capital throughout the life course, and in particular how experiences and circumstances in early life and childhood affect causally the acquisition of skills later on.

Nicolás Libuy is a PhD student in Quantitative Social Science at QSS/CLS, Institute of Education, UCL, with broad interests in health, environmental, and labour economics. In his research, he uses longitudinal data – mainly nationally representative samples – to estimate causal impacts and answer important policy questions of our time, including how air pollution affects children’s development, how reductions in working hours relate to healthy behaviours and individual wellbeing, and how obesogenic environments affect the risk of being of excess weight.

Tiffany Yang is a Principal Research Fellow with Born in Bradford and works across the BiB family of projects and European collaborations, including the LifeCycle and Advancing Tools for Human Early Lifecourse Exposome Research and Translation (ATHLETE) consortiums. She co-leads the ‘healthy weight’ workstream of the Yorkshire and Humber ARC Early Life & Prevention theme and the quasi-experimental evaluation workstream of ActEarly. Her research interests include understanding context and influences on diet, nutrition, and obesity.


Linking data on proximity to fast foods to the Millennium Cohort Study

In this talk, Emla Fitzsimons and Nicolas Libuy Rios discussed linking detailed geographical data to longitudinal studies, with a specific focus on distance to fast food outlets for MCS families. Their study uses longitudinal linked data to study the links between proximity to fast food outlets and obesity, across childhood and adolescence.  This offers an important advance on many previous studies linking fast food availability and obesity, which are mainly cross-sectional in nature and use less detailed geo data. The majority of previous study are also focused on adults, yet this is a particularly important question for today’s generation of young people given the high rates of excess weight amongst this population.

Download Emla and Nicolas’ presentation slides.

GIS in the Born in Bradford cohort: green space and health research

In this talk, Tiffany Yang gave an overview of the Born in Bradford (BiB) birth cohort and describe the geographical linked data available and  illustrate how they are produced and applied, with a focus on green space research. Data on residential surrounding greenness and distance to major green space have been used to study the associations between natural spaces and maternal and child health outcomes within BiB, including pregnancy outcomes and mental wellbeing. The unique study population has also provided an opportunity to examine the potential roles of ethnicity and socioeconomic status in this relationship. The talk covered how researchers can access the data.

Download Tiffany’s presentation slides.


If you have any questions about this webinar, or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact our Communications and Events Officer, Jennie Blows (