Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Aboriginal birth cohort (ABC): a prospective cohort study of early life determinants of adiposity and associated risk factors among Aboriginal people in Canada

Gita Wahi1, Julie Wilson2, Ruby Miller2, Rebecca Anglin1, Sarah McDonald1, Katherine M Morrison13, Koon K Teo13, Sonia S Anand134* and on behalf of the ABC investigators

Author Affiliations

1 McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8S 4K1, Canada

2 Six Nations Health Services, 1745 Chiefswood Rd, Ohsweken, ON N0A 1M0, Canada

3 Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

4 Population Genomics Program, Chanchlani Research Centre, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:608  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-608

Published: 25 June 2013



Aboriginal people living in Canada have a high prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). To better understand the pre and postnatal influences on the development of adiposity and related cardio-metabolic factors in adult Aboriginal people, we will recruit and follow prospectively Aboriginal pregnant mothers and their children – the Aboriginal Birth Cohort (ABC) study.


We aim to recruit 300 Aboriginal pregnant mothers and their newborns from the Six Nations Reserve, and follow them prospectively to age 3 years. Key details of environment and health including maternal nutrition, glucose tolerance, physical activity, and weight gain will be collected. At birth, cord blood and placenta samples will be collected, as well as newborn anthropometric measurements. Mothers and offspring will be followed annually with serial measurements of diet and physical activity, growth trajectory, and adiposity.


There is an urgent need to understand maternal and child factors that underlie the early development of adiposity and type 2 diabetes in Aboriginal people. The information generated from this cohort will assist the Six Nations community in developing interventions to prevent early adiposity in Aboriginal children.

Aboriginal; Birth cohort; Early origins; Adiposity