Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil): objectives and design

Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Feb 15;175(4):315-24. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwr294. Epub 2012 Jan 10.


Although low- and middle-income countries still bear the burden of major infectious diseases, chronic noncommunicable diseases are becoming increasingly common due to rapid demographic, epidemiologic, and nutritional transitions. However, information is generally scant in these countries regarding chronic disease incidence, social determinants, and risk factors. The Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) aims to contribute relevant information with respect to the development and progression of clinical and subclinical chronic diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. In this report, the authors delineate the study's objectives, principal methodological features, and timeline. At baseline, ELSA-Brasil enrolled 15,105 civil servants from 5 universities and 1 research institute. The baseline examination (2008-2010) included detailed interviews, clinical and anthropometric examinations, an oral glucose tolerance test, overnight urine collection, a 12-lead resting electrocardiogram, measurement of carotid intima-media thickness, echocardiography, measurement of pulse wave velocity, hepatic ultrasonography, retinal fundus photography, and an analysis of heart rate variability. Long-term biologic sample storage will allow investigation of biomarkers that may predict cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Annual telephone surveillance, initiated in 2009, will continue for the duration of the study. A follow-up examination is scheduled for 2012-2013.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Developing Countries
  • Diabetes Mellitus / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Epidemiologic Research Design*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Patient Selection
  • Population Surveillance
  • Risk
  • Sample Size