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[The baseline assessment of the German National Cohort (NAKO Gesundheitsstudie): participation in the examination modules, quality assurance, and the use of secondary data].BACKGROUND: The German National Cohort (NAKO) is an interdisciplinary health study aimed at elucidating causes for common chronic diseases and detecting their preclinical stages. This article provides an overview of design, methods, participation in the examinations, and their quality assurance based on the midterm baseline dataset (MBD) of the recruitment. METHODS: More than 200,000 women and men aged 20-69 years derived from random samples of the German general population were recruited in 18 study centers (2014-2019). The data collection comprised physical examinations, standardized interviews and questionnaires, and the collection of biomedical samples for all participants (level 1). At least 20% of all participants received additional in-depth examinations (level 2), and 30,000 received whole-body magnet resonance imaging (MRI). Additional information will be collected through secondary data sources such as medical registries, health insurances, and pension funds. This overview is based on the MBD, which included 101,839 participants, of whom 11,371 received an MRI. RESULTS: The mean response proportion was 18%. The participation in the examinations was high with most of the modules performed by over 95%. Among MRI participants, 96% completed all 12 MRI sequences. More than 90% of the participants agreed to the use of complementary secondary and registry data. DISCUSSION: Individuals selected for the NAKO were willing to participate in all examinations despite the time-consuming program. The NAKO provides a central resource for population-based epidemiologic research and will contribute to developing innovative strategies for prevention, screening and prediction of chronic diseases.