Overview: The Vellore Birth Cohort (VBC) is led by Dr Belavendra Antonisamy, Christian Medical College, Vellore (Insert Image 8). Other key investigators are Dr Nihal Thomas, Dr Viji Samuel, and Dr Geethanjali, Christian Medical College, Vellore. Key collaborators are Dr Fredrik Karpe, Oxford Centre for Endocrinology, Diabetes and metabolism, and Dr Senthil Vasan, MRC LEC. The cohort was set up prospectively in 1969 in order to study rates of low birth weight and pre-term birth and infant mortality and was a ‘twin’ cohort in South India to the New Delhi Birth Cohort. The babies were followed up throughout childhood and adolescence with measurements of height and weight in infancy (1-3 months), childhood (6-8 years) and adolescence (10-15 years). The first study in adult life, in 1998-2002 at the age of ~30 years, looked at the relationship between childhood growth and adult cardiometabolic risk markers. The cohort is now aged ~50 years and is currently involved in a study of cardiac structure and function, measured using echocardiography (the “INDECHO” study).
Objectives: The objective of the original cohort study was to describe birth weight and pre-term birth patterns and infant mortality. The collaboration between the MRC LEC and the VBC started in 1995, and the cohort was re-traced to study the relationship of birth weight and patterns of post-natal growth with the later development of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, other cardiovascular risk markers, in order to identify interventions and interventional windows in childhood to prevent later cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Further rounds of follow-up have repeated these risk markers, and have also examined other cardiovascular and NCD outcomes.
Methods: In 1998-2002, at a mean age of 29 years and in 2013-2014 (mean age 42 years) data were collected on socio-economic status, lifestyle, anthropometry, blood pressure, glucose tolerance, fasting insulin and lipids. In the last three years, in a parallel study with the New Delhi Birth Cohort data have been collected on left ventricular structure and function, and carotid intima media thickness (cIMT), using echocardiography (the “INDECHO” study). Body composition, glucose tolerance and serum lipids have also been re-measured.