Recruitment, retention, and compliance results from a probability study of children's environmental in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods

Ken Sexton, John L. Adgate, Timothy R. Church, Ian A. Greaves, Gurumurthy Ramachandran, Ann L. Fredrickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The School Health Initiative: Environment, Learning, and Disease (SHIELD) study used a Probability sample of children (second through fifth grades) from two low-income and racially mixed neighborhoods of Minneapolis, Minnesota, to assess childhood environmental health. Children were eligible to participate in SHIELD regardless of whether they or their families spoke a foreign language, their household had a telephone, or they were enrolled in a special education program. The overall enrollment rate in year 1 was 57%, with a substantial disparity between children from English-speaking (42%) versus non-English-speaking (71%) families. At the end of year 1, 85% were retained in the study. A relatively high percentage of children provided the two requested blood (82%) and urine (86%) samples in year 1, and 90% provided a valid spirometry sample. Eighty-two percent provided both requested volatile organic chemical badge samples, and both time-activity logs were obtained from 66%. However, only 32% provided both peak flow measurements. All percentages increased for those participating in the second year of the study. Results indicate that a school-based research design makes it feasible and practical to conduct probability-based assessments of children's environmental health in economically disadvantaged and ethnically diverse neighborhoods. There is an ongoing need, however, to improve understanding of the cultural, economic, psychologic, and social determinants of study participation among this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)731-736
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Enrollment
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Low-income
  • Lung function
  • Metals
  • Minorities
  • Pesticides
  • Probability sample
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Volatile organic chemicals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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