HSPH researchers seek to understand Africa’s chronic diseases

A group of researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, led by Department of Epidemiology Chair Hans-Olov Adami and Associate Professor of Epidemiology Michelle Holmes, are seeking to enroll 500,000 people from four African countries–Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, and Tanzania–in a new study. This large, long-running project, modeled after major cohort studies in the United States, will focus on identifying trends in chronic ailments, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

“It’s probably one of the biggest experiments in lifestyle ever conducted in the history of man,” Adami told the Harvard Gazette.

With the public health agenda in Africa focused for decades on infectious diseases, little broad population data exists on the scope of chronic diseases on the continent. But as the population ages and adopts less-healthy Western diets and sedentary lifestyles, chronic diseases are on the rise, as the continent begins to undergo demographic and epidemiological shifts similar to those that have taken place in developed countries.

Link to Harvard Gazette article

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Africa/Harvard School of Public Health Partnership for Cohort Research and Training