MatCH (Mothers and their Children’s Health) Profile: offspring of the 1973-78 cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health
Keywords:Maternal health, child health, health service use, intergenerational effects, social determinants, environmental factors
MatCH (Mothers and their Children’s Health) is a nationwide Australian study to investigate the links between the history of health, wellbeing and living conditions of mothers and the health and development of their children. MatCH builds on the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH), which began in 1996 and has surveyed more than 58,000 women in four nationally representative age cohorts. MatCH focuses on the three youngest offspring of the cohort of ALSWH participants randomly sampled from all women in Australia born in 1973–78 (N=5780 children of N=3039 mothers). These women, who had completed up to seven postal or online surveys since 1996, were invited in 2016–17 to complete surveys about the health and development of their three youngest children aged under 13. The mothers reported on their children’s health conditions and symptoms, diet, anthropometric measures, childcare, screen time, physical activity, temperament, behaviour, language development, motor development and health service utilisation, as well as household and environmental factors. These data are being linked with each child’s records from official sources including the Australian Early Development Census (collected at age five to six), the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (collected at age eight, 10, 12 and 14) and other external datasets. MatCH will combine 20 years of maternal data with all the information on her children, taking into account the family setting. MatCH offers an unprecedented opportunity to advance our understanding of the relationship between maternal health and wellbeing and child health and development.
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