Origin, Methods, and Evolution of the Three Nurses' Health Studies

Am J Public Health. 2016 Sep;106(9):1573-81. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303338. Epub 2016 Jul 26.


We have summarized the evolution of the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), a prospective cohort study of 121 700 married registered nurses launched in 1976; NHS II, which began in 1989 and enrolled 116 430 nurses; and NHS3, which began in 2010 and has ongoing enrollment. Over 40 years, these studies have generated long-term, multidimensional data, including lifestyle- and health-related information across the life course and an extensive repository of various biological specimens. We have described the questionnaire data collection, disease follow-up methods, biorepository resources, and data management and statistical procedures. Through integrative analyses, these studies have sustained a high level of scientific productivity and substantially influenced public health recommendations. We have highlighted recent interdisciplinary research projects and discussed future directions for collaboration and innovation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Demography
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Research Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Women's Health*