The Data

The Kids’ Environment and Health cohort will link anonymous data from schools, hospitals, and community pharmacies to form health and education histories for all children born in England from 2006 onwards – around 11 million children. This data will link to information about their mothers’ health during pregnancy as well as data on local environments in and around children’s homes and schools.

The Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort will be used by researchers to answer important questions regarding how the environment in and around children’s homes and schools affect their health and education as they grow up.

The cohort will link the following datasets:

  • Office for National Statistics birth and death registration data
  • Census 2011 and 2021 data: data on children born within two years of each Census
  • Hospital Episode Statistics: data on hospital contacts
  • Maternity Services Data: data on maternal health during pregnancy
  • Mental Health Dataset: data on referrals to mental health services
  • Community Dispensing Data: data on dispensed medicines, including for asthma
  • National Pupil Database: data on all children in state school, including special educational needs provision and exam results
  • Personal Demographic Service (NHS address records) and Getting Information About Schools Data (school addresses): used by the Office for National Statistics to link data on the local environment to children’s data.

 

Several environmental datasets about small areas across England on air pollution, energy efficiency of buildings, and proximity to major roads will also be linked to the de-identified health and education data.

All data linkage must be approved by the Confidentiality Advisory Group, the Office for National Statistics, NHS Digital, and the Department for Education.

The Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort will enable research on how changing local environments impact children’s health and education, which can be used to inform government departments, local councils, and the public. It will also enable new insights into how well housing, environmental, and planning policies are working to improve children’s lives.

To demonstrate how the Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort can be used, the team will carry out a research project to examine:

  1. How local greenspace coverage and access is linked to mental health in young people.
  2. How the availability and quality of local childcare provision is linked to primary education attainment.

The Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort will enable research on how changing local environments impact children’s health and education, which can be used to inform government departments, local councils, and the public. It will also enable new insights into how well housing, environmental, and planning policies are working to improve children’s lives.

To demonstrate how the Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort can be used, the team will carry out a research project to examine:

  1. How local greenspace coverage and access is linked to mental health in young people.
  2. How the availability and quality of local childcare provision is linked to primary education attainment.
 

Key questions these newly linked datasets can address include:

  1. Do children with better access to public parks or other greenspaces have better outcomes in school?
  2. Are children with asthma who grow up in highly insulated but less ventilated homes at risk of developing worse asthma symptoms?
  3. Is exposure to extreme heat or heat waves during pregnancy linked to babies being born prematurely?
  4. Is going to school near gambling outlets linked to worse mental health in young people?
  5. For children with complex chronic conditions such as autism, epilepsy, or cystic fibrosis, does living or going to school near traffic-heavy roads increase the risk of being admitted to hospital?

The Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort cannot be used to identify individuals. However, it can tell us about groups or characteristics of children who might benefit from modification or adaptations to their physical or social environments.

The Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort will be held by the Office for National Statistics in a Trusted Research Environment. 

All of the researchers accessing the Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort via the Office for National Statistics will have been accredited and trained on how to handle data safely and ethically. Researchers will only be allowed to use the Kids’ Environment and Health Cohort to answer questions that will benefit the public and were agreed at the beginning of the project.



personal data security