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Background:

The aim of the European Youth Heart Study (EYHS) is to establish the nature, strength, and interactions between personal, environmental, and lifestyle influences on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in European children.

Methods:

The EYHS is an international study measuring CVD risk factors, and their associated influences, in children. Relationships between these independent factors and risk of disease will inform the design of CVD interventions in children. A minimum of 1000 boys and girls ages 9 and 15 y were recruited from four European countries—Denmark, Estonia, Norway, and Portugal. Variables measured included physical, biochemical, lifestyle, psychosocial, and sociodemographic data.

Results:

Of the 5664 children invited to participate, 4169 (74%) accepted. Response rates for most individual tests were moderate to high. All test protocols were well received by the children.

Conclusions:

EYHS protocols are valid, reliable, acceptable to children, and feasible for use in large, field-based studies.

Riddoch is with the London Institute for Sport and Exercise, Middlesex University, London N19 5LW, England. Edwards is with the School of Human Sciences, St Mary’s College, London TW1 4SX, England. Page and Cooper are with the Dept of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TP, England. Froberg and Wedderkopp are with the Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark. Anderssen, Heggebø, and Andersen are with the Dept of Sports Medicine, Norwegian University of Sport and Physical Education, 0806 Oslo, Norway. Brage is with the Institute of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, and MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 2SR, England. Sardinha is with the Faculty of Human Movement, Technical University of Lisbon, 1169-047 Lisbon, Portugal. Harro is with the Dept of Public Health, University of Tartu, 50090 Tartu, Estonia and the Estonian National Institute for Health Development. van Mechelen is with the Dept of Social Medicine, EMGO Institute and Research Centre Body@Work TNO Vumc, VU University Medical Center, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Boreham is with the School of Applied Medical Sciences and Sports Studies, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT37 0QB, Northern Ireland. Ekelund is with the MRC Epidemiology Unit, Cambridge, England, and Department of Physical Education and Health, Örebro University, 701 82 Örebro, Sweden.