Redefining Lung Health: One Thousand Millennials Enroll in Nationwide Lung Health Study, More Needed

American Lung Association Lung Health Cohort is seeking to increase diversity among participants in one-of-a-kind lung study for the benefit of all communities

More than 1,000 millennials have now enrolled in the first-ever nationwide research study that aims to redefine lung health in the U.S. The American Lung Association announced this critical milestone today for the Lung Health Cohort Research Study and encourages millennials to learn more about the study at

The American Lung Association Lung Health Cohort Research Study is the first-ever large-scale lung health study. The goal is to track 4,000 young adults (aged 25-35) at the age of peak lung health for five years to evaluate how their environment, lifestyle and physical activity habits affect long term respiratory health. The Lung Health Cohort is taking place at 36 sites across the country and 3,000 more study participants are needed. In addition, the study is seeking participants who come from varied backgrounds defined by where they live and their racial or ethnic identity. Those interested can learn more here.

“What we know about disease is based on who we can enroll in our research studies. We have long observed disparities in lung health in persons who identify themselves as Black or Hispanic and among individuals who live in rural communities,” said Mercedes Carnethon, PhD, Vice Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Lung Health Cohort Principal Investigator. “In this landmark study, we want to be able to learn about the factors that influence lung health in these important populations that have higher rates of illness and death from all causes in the United States. We want our study to provide an opportunity for all members of our community to stand up and be counted so that we can start the hard work and long process of helping to reverse longstanding disparities.”

“Our goal is for this study to fundamentally change the burden of lung health in the U.S. By looking at the lung health of millennials, and then tracking them for many years, we hope to learn more about how our environment and behaviors impact lung health. We currently have funding to follow the study participants for five years but hope to receive additional funding to study their lung health throughout their entire lives,” said Ravi Kalhan, MD, MS, Northwestern Medicine Pulmonologist and Lung Health Cohort Principal Investigator. “To achieve the goals of this innovative and significant study, we need more young adults from different communities across the country to enroll.”

“The Lung Health Cohort will generate critical data to understand how factors early in life -- including such things as vaping, exercise, and infection history -- contribute to lung function,” said Lisa Postow, an NHLBI program officer. “Reaching 1000 participants is an important milestone, but more volunteers are needed to ensure that the study is representative of the diversity of the US population.”

For the Lung Health Cohort, each participant will visit the study site where a healthcare provider will administer tests, including a low-dose CT scan, and ask several questions. Following that visit, the participants will provide information about their lung health electronically, over the phone, or by mail four times per year.

The longitudinal study is made possible through a $24.8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). The Lung Association's Airways Clinical Research Centers (ACRC) Network are conducting the study through researchers at all center locations. Those interested in participating in the study can locate a site near them and start the process by visiting

The research described above is supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U01HL146408. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
[email protected]

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