Population-based cohort development in Alberta, Canada: a feasibility study

Chronic Dis Can. 2006;27(2):51-9.


In a climate of increasing privacy concerns, the feasibility of establishing new cohorts to examine chronic disease etiology has been debated. Our primary aim was to ascertain the feasibility of enrolling a geographically dispersed, population-based cohort in Alberta. We also examined whether enrolees would grant access to provincial health care utilization data and consider providing blood for future analysis. Using random digit dialling, 22,652 men and women aged 35 to 69 years, without diagnosed cancer, were recruited. Of these, 52.4 percent (N=11,865) enrolled; 84 percent of Alberta communities were represented. Approximately 97 percent of enrolees consented to linkage with health care data, and 91 percent indicated willingness to consider future blood sampling. Comparisons between the cohort and the Canadian Community Health Survey (Cycle 1.1) for Alberta demonstrated similarities in marital status and income. However, the cohort had a smaller proportion who had not finished high school, a greater proportion of nonsmokers and a higher prevalence of obesity. These findings indicate that establishment of a geographically dispersed cohort is feasible in the Canadian context, and that data linkage and biomarker studies may be viable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alberta / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chronic Disease / prevention & control*
  • Cohort Studies*
  • Demography
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection*
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*