Since the first Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) began in the 1970s, the information provided by its 238,000 dedicated participants has led to much of what we know today about health and disease.
A historic study, a nursing tradition
The first Nurses’ Health Study began in 1976 and expanded in 1989 and 2010. The Nurses’ Health Studies are the largest, longest-running investigations of health and wellness.
NHS3: Looking forward, building on the past
NHS3 is the new generation of the Nurses’ Health Studies. The original focus of NHS was on contraceptive methods, smoking, cancer, and heart disease, but has expanded over time to include research on many other lifestyle factors, behaviors, personal characteristics, and more than 30 diseases. NHS3 aims to represent nurses’ diverse backgrounds, and participation has expanded to include nurses and nursing students of any gender living in the US and Canada.
Streamlined, technology-based participation
Participation in NHS3 is entirely online, making it easy and convenient for busy nurses to participate on their preferred devices. We’re using smartphones, apps, and wearable devices to collect detailed real-time data.
Times change, and so do our lives. Researchers are eager to learn more about the long-term effects of nutrition, hormones, environment, and nurses’ work life on health and mental wellbeing. We’re looking at fertility and pregnancy outcomes, social factors, and the effects of the environment—air pollution and ultraviolet radiation, walkability and green space—across generations.
Emphasis on diversity
Racial and ethnic minorities continue to be underrepresented in medical research, and NHS3 is actively seeking the participation of nurses from diverse backgrounds to gather much-needed data to assist in addressing health disparities.
Transforming medical care and public health
Findings from NHS have guided the World Health Organization and US Surgeon General in developing new guidelines and policies, including the US Food and Drug Administration ban on trans fats, US Dietary Guidelines, Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, and the Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors.
In 2016, marking the 40th anniversary of the Nurses’ Health Studies, a special issue of the American Journal of Public Health was dedicated to honoring the studies’ achievements. All of the articles are open access and freely available for download.