When GUTS began in 1996, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard School of Public Health were interested in studying how diet and exercise influence weight changes throughout a person’s life. They recruited children of Nurses’ Health Study II participants, ultimately enrolling 16,882 girls & boys between the ages of 9 & 14 into the study. The second phase of GUTS (GUTS2) was rolled out in 2004, with the enrollment of an additional 10,923 children between the ages of 10 & 17.

GUTS data is used by researchers across the globe resulting in the publication of over 100 research articles.

Looking forward

GUTS is entering an exciting and important time. GUTS participants are adults now and their contributions are more important than ever. By continuing to complete ourĀ surveys, GUTS participants help researchers gain new insights into the long-term effects of many factors, including:

  • Being a member of a minority group
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol use
  • Body image
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Environmental factors (living near fast-food restaurants, biking trails, convenience stores, safe walking areas, and fresh produce)
  • Work status, health insurance status, and other economic conditions

As people grow older, new health issues tend to occur. For example, people in their 20s are more likely to develop sports injuries or skin cancer. With the continued help of GUTSĀ  participants, researchers will better understand the role of diet, activity level, and other factors in preventing or causing health outcomes throughout a lifetime from pregnancy and fertility issues to heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.

Now that GUTS participants are adults, their health outcomes can be compared with their mother’s health outcomes that have been well documented in the Nurses’ Health Study II, making GUTS a cross-generational superstudy! We look forward to understanding how genetics and environmental factors influence health outcomes.