Nurses’ Health Study 2 began in 1989 by Dr. Walter Willett and colleagues.  The study was once again funded by the National Institutes of Health.  The purpose of NHS2 was to study diet, and lifestyle risk factors in women who were younger than the NHS1 participants. Nurses between the age of 25 and 42 were recruited (the youngest nurses in NHS1 at the time were 43).

NHS2 investigators hoped to match the number of nurses enrolled in NHS1. They sent an invitation to more than half-a-million female nurses in California, Connecticut, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas (the most populous states) and 116,686 nurses joined. Many members of NHS2 were daughters or nieces of NHS1 participants. Ninety percent of NHS2 nurses still participate!

In 1996 and 2004, participants in Nurses’ Health Study 2 were invited to enroll their children between the ages of 9-14 in a similar long term study to investigate factors that influence weight change. This study was called Growing Up Today Study (GUTS) and it is still ongoing.