Jackson Heart Study Kids, or JHS Kids, is a feasibility study to identify the early origins of heart disease among African-Americans children and grandchildren of participants taking part in the largest study of heart disease risk factors among African-American adults, the Jackson Heart Study in Jackson, Miss.

Bettina Beech, Dr.P.H., of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C., will be the lead investigator for the study and will collaborate with researchers Warren Jones, M.D., Marino Bruce, Ph.D., and Mario Sims, Ph.D., at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson.

The researchers will collect blood and other biological samples from the participants, along with detailed information on their diet, exercise patterns, and other aspects of their lifestyle. They hope to compare information from the adolescent participants to information about their older relatives taking part in the JHS, to help determine how environment and hereditary factors combine to increase the risk for obesity and later heart disease.

Two hundred 12- to 19-year-old children or grandchildren of JHS participants will participate in the study. Researchers will visit participants’ homes in the Jackson area to record their height and weight, measure their blood sugar and blood pressure, gauge their activity levels, and obtain information about their diet and other aspects of their lifestyle. The researchers will make two such visits, with the second taking place six months after the first. After analyzing the data they collect, the researchers will review what they’ve learned and design a larger study to track the development of obesity and heart disease in the children and grandchildren of the JHS participants.

The study is funded by the National Institute of Health’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The NICHD provides support for the JHS Kids study through a collaborative agreement with the Institute for the Improvement of Minority Health and Health Disparities in the Delta Region, a program which is supported by the Office of Minority Health.