The largest population-based health study ever conducted in North America, the Ontario Health Study (OHS) is attempting to uncover common risk factors that lead to a spectrum of diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, Alzheimer’s and depression. Recruiting Ontarians aged 18 and older, the long-term study aims to arm researchers with information that will help develop strategies for the prevention and treatment of various diseases.
Ontario Health Study participants fill out an online questionnaire that can be found at www.OntarioHealthStudy.ca and optional follow-up questionnaires about subjects like psychosocial health, diet and physical activity. Signing up for the Study and completing the initial questionnaire takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes.
“The Ontario Health Study is an exciting opportunity to conduct big-vision science that will improve the future health of people in Ontario and around the world,” says Professor Lyle Palmer, the Study’s executive scientific director.
More than 200 scientists and clinicians at universities, hospitals and research institutes across Ontario are overseeing the OHS. In addition, the OHS is endorsed by most of the major chronic disease groups. Population-based health research has led to many important discoveries in the past. For instance, the Framingham Heart Study in the United States, which began in 1948 and continues today, led to the discovery that cigarette smoking is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The original Framingham Study followed 5,209 people. The scope of the Ontario Health Study – with its goal of studying millions of Ontarians over several decades – has potentially staggering implications for health research.
To find out more about the OHS or to complete the online questionnaire go to www.OntarioHealthStudy.ca.