Open Access Highly Accessed Correspondence

New directions in childhood obesity research: how a comprehensive biorepository will allow better prediction of outcomes

Matthew A Sabin12*, Susan L Clemens1, Richard Saffery12, Zoe McCallum12, Michele W Campbell1, Wieland Kiess3, Nancy A Crimmins4, Jessica G Woo4, Gary M Leong56, George A Werther12, Obioha C Ukoumunne12 and Melissa A Wake12

Author Affiliations

1 Murdoch Childrens Research Institute and Royal Children's Hospital, Flemington Road, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia

2 University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia

3 Hospital for Children and Adolescents, University of Leipzig, Liebigstr. 20a, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

4 Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, USA

5 The University of Queensland, Obesity Research Centre, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, St Lucia Queensland 4069, Australia

6 Mater Children's Hospital, South Brisbane, Queensland 4010, Australia

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2010, 10:100  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-100

Published: 22 October 2010



Childhood obesity is associated with the early development of diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, to date, traditional methods of research have failed to identify effective prevention and treatment strategies, and large numbers of children and adolescents continue to be at high risk of developing weight-related disease.


To establish a unique 'biorepository' of data and biological samples from overweight and obese children, in order to investigate the complex 'gene × environment' interactions that govern disease risk.


The 'Childhood Overweight BioRepository of Australia' collects baseline environmental, clinical and anthropometric data, alongside storage of blood samples for genetic, metabolic and hormonal profiles. Opportunities for longitudinal data collection have also been incorporated into the study design. National and international harmonisation of data and sample collection will achieve required statistical power.


Ethical approval in the parent site has been obtained and early data indicate a high response rate among eligible participants (71%) with a high level of compliance for comprehensive data collection (range 56% to 97% for individual study components). Multi-site ethical approval is now underway.


In time, it is anticipated that this comprehensive approach to data collection will allow early identification of individuals most susceptible to disease, as well as facilitating refinement of prevention and treatment programs.