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||Trends in reproductive, smoking, and other chronic disease risk factors by birth cohort in a large occupational study.
||Freedman D, Linet M, Doody M, Mohan A, Alexander B, Boice J, Mandel J, Tarone R
||2000 Oct 1
||PURPOSE: To illustrate the value of using large cohort studies to identify birth cohort trends in several chronic disease risk factors.METHODS: In collaboration with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) and the University of Minnesota, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) initiated a cohort study of radiologic technologists who were certified by ARRT for at least two years between 1926 and 1982. Over 90,000 technologists (nearly four-fifths female) from all 50 states responded to a mailed questionnaire on reproductive, medical, work, and lifestyle factors. Ten, mostly five-year, birth cohorts, from before 1920 through 1960 and later, were evaluated.RESULTS: In this population, the mean height of both men and women generally rose in each subsequent birth cohort. The proportion of men who smoked before age 18 fell among those born since the late 1920s. In contrast, the proportion of women smoking before age 18 rose among those born since the early 1950s, reaching 14.2% among those born in 1960 and later. The mean age at menarche fell, until leveling off at 12.5, among those born after 1940. Recent birth cohorts (since 1950) show among the highest mean ages at birth of first child (>26 yeras), highest rates of nulliparity at age 25 (>/=63%), and lowest mean parity levels (=1.7), compared with earlier birth cohorts. The proportion of women ever using oral contraceptives rose steadily by birth cohort, reaching 86 percent in the most recent birth cohort.CONCLUSIONS: Some of the trends observed may help explain historic chronic disease incidence patterns and predict future disease burdens.