The Korea Nurses' Health Study: A Prospective Cohort Study

Oksoo Kim, Younjhin Ahn, Hea Young Lee, Hee Jung Jang, Sue Kim, Jung Eun Lee, Heeja Jung, Eunyoung Cho, Joong Yeon Lim, Min Ju Kim, Walter C. Willett, Jorge E. Chavarro, Hyun Young Park

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53 Scopus citations


Background: The Korea Nurses' Health Study (KNHS) is a prospective cohort study of female nurses, focusing on the effects of occupational, environmental, and lifestyle risk factors on the health of Korean women. Materials and Methods: Female registered nurses aged 20-45 years and living in the Republic of Korea were invited to join the study, which began in July 2013. They were asked to complete a web-based baseline survey. The study protocols and questionnaires related to the KNHS are based on the Nurses' Health Study 3 (NHS3) in the United States, although they were modified to reflect the Korean lifestyle. Participants were asked about demographic, lifestyle factors, disease history, occupational exposure, reproductive factors, and dietary habits during their adolescence: Follow-up questionnaires were/will be completed at 6-8 month intervals after the baseline survey. If a participant became pregnant, she answered additional questionnaires containing pregnancy-related information. Results: Among 157,569 eligible female nurses, 20,613 (13.1%) completed the web-based baseline questionnaire. The mean age of the participants was 29.4 ± 5.9 years, and more than half of them were in their 20s. Eighty-eight percent of the participants had worked night shifts as a nurse (mean, 5.3 ± 4.3 nights per month). Approximately 80% of the participants had a body mass index below 23 kg/m2. Gastrointestinal diseases were the most prevalent health issues (25.9%). Conclusions: The findings from this prospective cohort study will help to identify the effects of lifestyle-related and occupational factors on reproductive health and development of chronic diseases in Korean women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)892-899
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


  • Nurses' health study
  • Republic of Korea
  • cohort
  • occupational exposure
  • women's health


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