• Anthropometric measures in the German National Cohort—more than weight and height

      Fischer, Beate; Sedlmeier, Anja M.; Hartwig, Saskia; Schlett, Christopher L.; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Bamberg, Fabian; Baurecht, Hansjörg; Becher, Heiko; Berger, Klaus; Binder, Hans; et al. (Springer, 2020-01-01)
      High levels of adiposity in the population have a major impact on various diseases, but previous epidemiologic studies have largely been restricted to simple anthropometric measures such as the body mass index (BMI), an imperfect predictor of disease risk. There is a critical need for the use of improved measures of relative weight and body composition in large-scale, population-based research. The current article presents initial descriptive results of body composition and fat distribution based on the midterm baseline dataset of the German National Cohort, which included 101,817 participants who were examined in 18 study centers in Germany between March 2014 and March 2017. The anthropometric measures encompassed body weight, height, waist and hip circumference, bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), sonography of abdominal adipose tissue, 3D-body scanning, and magnetic resonance imaging. BMI analyses showed that 46.2% of men and 29.7% of women were overweight and 23.5% of men and 21.2% of women were obese. On average, women in almost all age groups demonstrated more subcutaneous adipose tissue layer thickness than men. The mean values of visceral adipose tissue layer thickness, on the other hand, were higher among men than among women in all age groups and increased continuously across age groups in both sexes. The comprehensive assessment of body composition and fat distribution provides novel future opportunities for detailed epidemiologic analyses of overweight and adiposity in relation to the development of chronic diseases. © 2020, The Author(s).
    • [Assessment of self-reported cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in the German National Cohort (GNC, NAKO Gesundheitsstudie): methods and initial results].

      Jaeschke, Lina; Steinbrecher, Astrid; Greiser, Karin Halina; Dörr, Marcus; Buck, Thomas; Linseisen, Jakob; Meisinger, Christa; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Becher, Heiko; Berger, Klaus; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-10)
      BACKGROUND: Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in both children and adults. Asthma first occurring in adulthood (adult-onset asthma, AOA) is associated with poorer prognosis compared to childhood-onset asthma (COA), which urgently calls for more research in this area. The aim of this work was to analyze the data on asthma collected in the German National Cohort and compare it with the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS), in particular regarding AOA. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Our analysis was based on the dataset of the main questionnaire at mid-term of the German National Cohort baseline examination, comprising 101,723 participants. Variables considered in the analyses were self-reported diagnosis of asthma, age at first diagnosis, asthma treatment in the past 12 months, age, and sex. RESULTS: In the midterm dataset, 8.7% of women and 7.0% of men in the German National Cohort reported that they had ever been diagnosed with asthma. Approximately one third of participants with asthma received their initial diagnosis before their 18th birthday. COA affected 2.2% of women and 2.8% of men, whereas AOA affected 6.5% of women and 4.2% of men. During the previous 12 months, 33% of COA cases and 60% of AOA cases were medically treated. CONCLUSION: The proportion of persons affected by asthma in the German National Cohort, as well as observed patterns regarding age and gender, corresponds to other data sources such as DEGS. However, in our analysis, the proportion of individuals with AOA was higher than described in the literature. The increase in cumulative asthma diagnoses with age is markedly steeper in younger participants, indicating a rising trend over time.
    • [The baseline assessment of the German National Cohort (NAKO Gesundheitsstudie): participation in the examination modules, quality assurance, and the use of secondary data].

      Schipf, Sabine; Schöne, Gina; Schmidt, Börge; Günther, Kathrin; Stübs, Gunthard; Greiser, Karin H; Bamberg, Fabian; Meinke-Franze, Claudia; Becher, Heiko; Berger, Klaus; et al. (Springer, 2020-02-11)
      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.
    • [Blood pressure measurement in the NAKO German National Cohort (GNC) - differences in methods, distribution of blood pressure values, and awareness of hypertension compared to other population-based studies in Germany].

      Schikowski, Tamara; Wigmann, Claudia; Fuks, Kateryna B; Schipf, Sabine; Heier, Margit; Neuhauser, Hannelore; Sarganas, Giselle; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Becher, Heiko; Berger, Klaus; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-13)
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    • Design and characterization of dietary assessment in the German National Cohort.

      Knüppel, Sven; Clemens, Matthias; Conrad, Johanna; Gastell, Sylvia; Michels, Karin B; Leitzmann, Michael; Krist, Lilian; Pischon, Tobias; Krause, Gerard; Ahrens, Wolfgang; et al. (Springer Nature, 2019-01-15)
      BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to describe a novel dietary assessment strategy based on two instruments complemented by information from an external population applied to estimate usual food intake in the large-scale multicenter German National Cohort (GNC). As proof of concept, we applied the assessment strategy to data from a pretest study (2012-2013) to assess the feasibility of the novel assessment strategy. SUBJECTS/METHODS: First, the consumption probability for each individual was modeled using three 24 h food lists (24h-FLs) and frequencies from one food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Second, daily consumed food amounts were estimated from the representative German National Nutrition Survey II (NVS II) taking the characteristics of the participants into account. Usual food intake was estimated using the product of consumption probability and amounts. RESULTS: We estimated usual intake of 41 food groups in 318 men and 377 women. The participation proportion was 100, 84.4, and 68.5% for the first, second, and third 24h-FL, respectively. We observed no associations between the probability of participating and lifestyle factors. The estimated distributions of usual food intakes were plausible and total energy was estimated to be 2707 kcal/day for men and 2103 kcal/day for women. The estimated consumption frequencies did not differ substantially between men and women with only few exceptions. The differences in energy intake between men and women were mostly due to differences in estimated daily amounts. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of repeated 24h-FLs, a FFQ, and consumption-day amounts from a reference population represents a user-friendly dietary assessment approach having generated plausible, but not yet validated, food intake values in the pretest study
    • Factors associated with habitual time spent in different physical activity intensities using multiday accelerometry.

      Jaeschke, Lina; Steinbrecher, Astrid; Boeing, Heiner; Gastell, Sylvia; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Berger, Klaus; Brenner, Hermann; Ebert, Nina; Fischer, Beate; Greiser, Karin Halina; et al. (NPG, 2020-01-21)
      To investigate factors associated with time in physical activity intensities, we assessed physical activity of 249 men and women (mean age 51.3 years) by 7-day 24h-accelerometry (ActiGraph GT3X+). Triaxial vector magnitude counts/minute were extracted to determine time in inactivity, in low-intensity, moderate, and vigorous-to-very-vigorous activity. Cross-sectional associations with sex, age, body mass index, waist circumference, smoking, alcohol consumption, education, employment, income, marital status, diabetes, and dyslipidaemia were investigated in multivariable regression analyses. Higher age was associated with more time in low-intensity (mean difference, 7.3 min/d per 5 years; 95% confidence interval 2.0,12.7) and less time in vigorous-to-very-vigorous activity (-0.8 min/d; -1.4, -0.2), while higher BMI was related to less time in low-intensity activity (-3.7 min/d; -6.3, -1.2). Current versus never smoking was associated with more time in low-intensity (29.2 min/d; 7.5, 50.9) and less time in vigorous-to-very-vigorous activity (-3.9 min/d; -6.3, -1.5). Finally, having versus not having a university entrance qualification and being not versus full time employed were associated with more inactivity time (35.9 min/d; 13.0, 58.8, and 66.2 min/d; 34.7, 97.7, respectively) and less time in low-intensity activity (-31.7 min/d; -49.9, -13.4, and -50.7; -76.6, -24.8, respectively). The assessed factors show distinct associations with activity intensities, providing targets for public health measures aiming to increase activity.
    • [Lung function in the German National Cohort: methods and initial results].

      Karrasch, Stefan; Peters, Annette; Meisinger, Christa; Ferland, Maike; Jaeschke, Lina; Pischon, Tobias; Fricke, Julia; Keil, Thomas; Gastell, Sylvia; Schulze, Matthias; et al. (Springer Open choice, 2020-03-01)
      In the present dataset (n = 101,734), spirometry was available for 86,893 study participants and FeNO was available for 15,228 participants. The average (±SD) FEV1 Z score (according to GLI 2012) was -0.321 ± 1.047, the FVC Z score was -0.153 ± 0.941, and the FEV1/FVC Z score was -0.337 ± 0.901. The difference in FEV1/FVC between current smokers and never-smokers increased with age. The average FeNO was 14.2 ÷ 2.0 ppb. Current smoking reduced FeNO levels by 43%, whereas respiratory allergy increased FeNO levels by 16% in nonsmokers.
    • [Measuring physical fitness in the German National Cohort-methods, quality assurance, and first descriptive results].

      Kluttig, Alexander; Zschocke, Johannes; Haerting, Johannes; Schmermund, Axel; Gastell, Sylvia; Steindorf, Karen; Herbolsheimer, Florian; Hillreiner, Andrea; Jochem, Carmen; Baumeister, Sebastian; et al. (Springer Nature, 2020-03-01)
      Physical fitness is defined as an individual's ability to be physically active. The main components are cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), muscle strength, and flexibility. Regardless of physical activity level, physical fitness is an important determinant of morbidity and mortality.The aim of the current study was to describe the physical fitness assessment methodology in the German National Cohort (NAKO) and to present initial descriptive results in a subsample of the cohort.In the NAKO, hand grip strength (GS) and CRF as physical fitness components were assessed at baseline using a hand dynamometer and a submaximal bicycle ergometer test, respectively. Maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) was estimated as a result of the bicycle ergometer test. The results of a total of 99,068 GS measurements and 3094 CRF measurements are based on a data set at halftime of the NAKO baseline survey (age 20-73 years, 47% men).Males showed higher values of physical fitness compared to women (males: GS = 47.8 kg, VO2max = 36.4 ml·min-1 · kg-1; females: GS = 29.9 kg, VO2max = 32.3 ml · min-1 · kg-1). GS declined from the age of 50 onwards, whereas VO2max levels decreased continuously between the age groups of 20-29 and ≥60 years. GS and VO2max showed a linear positive association after adjustment for body weight (males β = 0.21; females β = 0.35).These results indicate that the physical fitness measured in the NAKO are comparable to other population-based studies. Future analyses in this study will focus on examining the independent relations of GS and CRF with risk of morbidity and mortality.
    • [Nighttime transportation noise annoyance in Germany: personal and regional differences in the German National Cohort Study].

      Wolf, Kathrin; Kraus, Ute; Dzolan, Mihovil; Bolte, Gabriele; Lakes, Tobia; Schikowski, Tamara; Greiser, Karin Halina; Kuß, Oliver; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Bamberg, Fabian; et al. (Springer, 2020-02-11)
      BACKGROUND: Noise annoyance is associated with adverse health-related conditions and reduced wellbeing. Thereby, subjective noise annoyance depends on the objective noise exposure and is modified by personal and regional factors. OBJECTIVE: How many participants of the German National Cohort Study (GNC; NAKO Gesundheitsstudie) were annoyed by transportation noise during nighttime and what factors were associated with noise annoyance? MATERIALS AND METHODS: This cross-sectional analysis included 86,080 participants from 18 study centers, examined from 2014 to 2017. We used multinomial logistic regression to investigate associations of personal and regional factors to noise annoyance (slightly/moderately or strongly/extremely annoyed vs. not annoyed) mutually adjusting for all factors in the model. RESULTS: Two thirds of participants were not annoyed by transportation noise during nighttime and one in ten reported strong/extreme annoyance with highest percentages for the study centers Berlin-Mitte and Leipzig. The strongest associations were seen for factors related to the individual housing situation like the bedroom being positioned towards a major road (OR of being slightly/moderately annoyed: 4.26 [95% CI: 4.01;4.52]; OR of being strongly/extremely annoyed: 13.36 [95% CI: 12.47;14.32]) compared to a garden/inner courtyard. Participants aged 40-60 years and those in low- and medium-income groups reported greater noise annoyance compared to younger or older ones and those in the high-income group. CONCLUSION: In this study from Germany, transportation noise annoyance during nighttime varied by personal and regional factors.
    • [Persons with migration background in the German National Cohort (NAKO)-sociodemographic characteristics and comparisons with the German autochthonous population].

      Wiessner, Christian; Keil, Thomas; Krist, Lilian; Zeeb, Hajo; Dragano, Nico; Schmidt, Börge; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Berger, Klaus; Castell, Stefanie; Fricke, Julia; et al. (Springer, 2020-02-07)
      BACKGROUND: Persons with a migration background (PmM) as a population group usually differ from the autochthonous population in terms of morbidity, mortality, and use of the health care system, but they participate less frequently in health studies. The PmM group is very heterogeneous, which has hardly been taken into account in studies so far. OBJECTIVES: Sociodemographic characteristics of PmM in the NAKO health study (age, sex, time since migration, education) are presented. In addition, it is examined through an example whether migration background is related to the use of cancer screening for colorectal cancer (hemoccult test). METHODS: Data of the first 101,816 persons of the NAKO were analyzed descriptively and cartographically. The migration background was assigned on the basis of the definition of the Federal Statistical Office, based on nationality, country of birth, year of entry, and country of birth of the parents. RESULTS: Overall, the PmM proportion is 16.0%. The distribution across the 18 study centers varies considerably between 6% (Neubrandenburg) and 33% (Düsseldorf). With 153 countries of origin, most countries are represented in the NAKO. All variables show clear differences between the different regions of origin. In the hemoccult test, persons of Turkish origin (OR = 0.67) and resettlers (OR = 0.60) have a lower participation rate. PmM born in Germany do not differ in this respect from the autochthonous population (OR = 0.99). CONCLUSION: PmM in the NAKO are a very heterogeneous group. However, due to the sample size, individual subgroups of migrants can be studied separately with respect to region of origin.
    • [Physical activity in the German National Cohort (NAKO): use of multiple assessment tools and initial results].

      Leitzmann, Michael; Gastell, Sylvia; Hillreiner, Andrea; Herbolsheimer, Florian; Baumeister, Sebastian E; Bohn, Barbara; Brandes, Mirko; Greiser, Halina; Jaeschke, Lina; Jochem, Carmen; et al. (Springer Open choice, 2020-02-13)
      BACKGROUND: Physical activity is a complex behavior that is difficult to measure validly and reliably in large, population-based studies. Data on physical activity are available for the initial 100,000 participants of the German National Cohort. OBJECTIVES: To describe the baseline physical activity assessment in the cohort and to present initial descriptive results. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Physical activity was assessed using a combination of tools, including two self-administered questionnaires, the Questionnaire on Annual Physical Activity Pattern (QUAP) and the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ); a computer-based 24‑h physical activity recall (cpar24); and 7‑day accelerometry (Actigraph GT3X/+; ActiGraph, Pensacola, FL, USA). RESULTS: The availability of data varied between assessment instruments (QUAP: n = 16,372; GPAQ: n = 90,900; cpar24: n = 23,989; accelerometry: n = 35,218). Analyses across measurement tools showed that on average, women spent 75 to 216 min/d, and men spent 73 to 224 min/d in moderate or higher intensity total physical activity. Persons aged 20-39 years spent 66 to 200 min/d, and persons aged 40-69 years spent 78 to 244 min/d in moderate or higher intensity total physical activity. CONCLUSIONS: Initial baseline analyses of physical activity in this cohort show the value of using a combination of questionnaires, 24‑h recalls, and a movement sensor. The comprehensive data collection represents a valuable resource for future analyses and will improve our understanding of the association between physical activity and disease prevention.
    • [Self-reported cancer in the German National Cohort (NAKO Gesundheitsstudie): assessment methods and first results] / Selbstberichtete Krebserkrankungen in der NAKO Gesundheitsstudie: Erfassungsmethoden und erste Ergebnisse.

      Nimptsch, Katharina; Jaeschke, Lina; Chang-Claude, Jenny; Kaaks, Rudolf; Katzke, Verena; Michels, Karin B; Franzke, Claus-Werner; Obi, Nadia; Becher, Heiko; Kuß, Oliver; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-16)
      Background: In the German National Cohort (NAKO Gesundheitsstudie), the largest prospective cohort study in Germany, data on self-reported cancer diagnoses are now available for the first half of participants. Objectives: Description of the methods to assess self-reported cancer diagnoses and type of cancer in the NAKO and presentation of first results. Materials and methods: In a computer-assisted, standardized personal interview, 101,787 participants (54,526 women, 47,261 men) were asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with cancer (malignant tumors including in situ) by a physician and how many cancer diagnoses they had. The type of cancer was classified with a list. Absolute and relative frequencies of self-reported cancer diagnoses and types of cancer were calculated and compared with cancer registry data. Results: A physician-diagnosed cancer was reported by 9.4% of women and 7.0% of men. Of the participants who reported a cancer diagnosis, 88.3% reported to have had only one cancer diagnosis. In women, the most frequent malignancies were breast cancer, cervical cancer, and melanoma. In men, the most frequent malignancies were prostate cancer, melanoma, and colorectal cancer. Comparing the frequencies of cancer diagnoses reported by 45- to 74-year-old NAKO participants within the last five years to cancer registry-based 5‑year prevalences, most types of cancer were less frequent in the NAKO, with the exception of melanoma in men and women, cervical cancer and liver cancer in women, and bladder cancer and breast cancer in men. Conclusions: The NAKO is a rich data basis for future investigations of incident cancer.
    • [Self-reported infections in the German National Cohort (GNC) in the context of the current research landscape].

      Hassenstein, Max J; Aarabi, Ghazal; Ahnert, Peter; Becher, Heiko; Franzke, Claus-Werner; Fricke, Julia; Krause, Gérard; Glöckner, Stephan; Gottschick, Cornelia; Karch, André; et al.
      Infectious diseases continue to play an important role for disease perception, health-economic considerations and public health in Germany. In recent years, infectious diseases have been linked to the development of non-communicable diseases. Analyses of the German National Cohort (GNC) may provide deeper insights into this issue and pave the way for new targeted approaches in disease prevention. Objectives The aim was to describe the tools used to assess infectious diseases and to present initial data on infectious disease frequencies, as well as to relate the GNC assessment tools to data collection methods in other studies in Germany. Methods As part of the baseline examination, questions regarding infectious diseases were administered using both an interview and a self-administered touchscreen questionnaire. Data from the initial 101,787 GNC participants were analysed. Results In the interview, 0.2% (HIV/AIDS) to 8.6% (shingles) of respondents reported ever having a medical diagnosis of shingles, postherpetic neuralgia (in cases where shingles was reported), hepatitis B/C, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis or sepsis if treated in hospital. In the questionnaire, 12% (cystitis) to 81% (upper respiratory tract infections) of respondents reported having experienced at least one occurrence of upper or lower respiratory tract infections, gastrointestinal infections, cystitis or fever within the past 12 months. Outlook The cross-sectional analyses of data and tools presented here – for example on determinants of susceptibility to self-reported infections – can be anticipated from the year 2021 onward. Beyond that, more extensive research into infectious disease epidemiology will follow, particularly once analyses of GNC biological materials have been performed.