The German National Cohort (GNC) is the largest population-based cohort study in Germany. Beginning in 2014, a total of 200,000 women and men aged 20-69 years will be examined in 18 study centers. The aim of the study is to investigate the etiology of chronic diseases in relation to lifestyle, genetic, socioeconomic, and environmental factors and to develop appropriate methods for early diagnosis and prevention of diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative/psychiatric diseases, as well as musculoskeletal and infectious diseases. Pretest studies (phase 1 and 2) were conducted to select methods, instruments, and procedures for the main study, to develop standard operating procedures, and to design and test the examination program according to acceptance, expected duration, and feasibility. The pretest studies included testing of interviews, questionnaires, anthropometric measurements, several medical examinations, and the collection of biosamples. In addition, the logistic, technical, and personnel infrastructure for the main study could be established including the study centers, the central infrastructure for data management, processes to coordinate the study, and data protection and quality management concepts. The examination program for the main phase of the GNC was designed and optimized based on the results of the pretest studies. The GNC is a population-based, highly standardized and excellently phenotyped cohort that will be the basis for new strategies for risk assessment and identification, early diagnosis, and prevention of multifactorial diseases.
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Journal article published