Open Access Open Badges Research article

Do people with risky behaviours participate in biomedical cohort studies?

Anne W Taylor1*, Eleonora Dal Grande1, Tiffany Gill1, Catherine R Chittleborough1, David H Wilson2, Robert J Adams3, Janet F Grant1, Patrick Phillips4, Richard E Ruffin3 and the North West Adelaide Health Study Team

Author Affiliations

1 Population Research & Outcome Studies Unit, South Australian Department of Health, Australia

2 Health Observatory, Department of Medicine, The University of Adelaide, Australia

3 Department of Medicine, The University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

4 Department of Endocrine Services Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woodville South Australia, Australia

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BMC Public Health 2006, 6:11  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-11

Published: 23 January 2006



Analysis was undertaken on data from randomly selected participants of a bio-medical cohort study to assess representativeness. The research hypotheses was that there was no difference in participation and non-participations in terms of health-related indicators (smoking, alcohol use, body mass index, physical activity, blood pressure and cholesterol readings and overall health status) and selected socio-demographics (age, sex, area of residence, education level, marital status and work status).


Randomly selected adults were recruited into a bio-medical representative cohort study based in the north western suburbs of the capital of South Australia – Adealide. Comparison data was obtained from cross-sectional surveys of randomly selected adults in the same age range and in the same region. The cohort participants were 4060 randomly selected adults (18+ years).


There were no major differences between study participants and the comparison population in terms of current smoking status, body mass index, physical activity, overall health status and proportions with current high blood pressure and cholesterol readings. Significantly more people who reported a medium to very high alcohol risk participated in the study. There were some demographic differences with study participants more likely to be in the middle level of household income and education level.


People with risky behaviours participated in this health study in the same proportions as people without these risk factors.