What's happening elsewhere - other longitudinal studies on child development

Just like New Zealand, a number of other countries are interested in how their children are growing up. Many have set up studies which track samples of children from birth - which researchers refer to as "birth cohorts" - or from early childhood.

Great Britain was a pioneer in this area, setting up the first nationally representative cohort (National Birth Cohort) back in 1946. This was followed by similar cohorts in 1958 (National Child Development Study), 1970 (British Cohort Study) and, most recently, in 2000 (Millennium Cohort).

Cohorts have also been formed in Australia and the United States, as well as in some Northern European countries, Ireland, Scotland, France, the Netherlands and Canada, just to name a few. The socioeconomic environments, healthcare and educational systems vary greatly from one country to another. This is why it was so important for New Zealand to have a large-scale cohort study of its own, in order to inform health and social policy makers, and open up new possibilities for early prevention.