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Alberta’s Tomorrow Project Offers Wealth of Data for Obesity Research

As the province’s largest health research study, Alberta’s Tomorrow Project (ATP) has amassed a vast database over the past sixteen years, and is inviting researchers to apply for access.  

Obesity and dietary habits are among the many health and lifestyle risk factors which have been chronicled in detail for each of the study’s 55,000 participants.  The research platform was established in 2000 to help scientists explore how genetics, lifestyle and the environment act individually and together to increase the risk of developing cancer and chronic disease.

Men and women between the ages of 35 and 69 were recruited if they had no history of malignant cancer, and were willing to stay with the study for up to 50 years.  While cancer-free, the participants have a relatively similar health profile to the general Canadian population, with rates of overweight and obesity of about 65%. 

Dietary intake, physical activity levels, prescription drug use, sleep and health screening patterns represent just some of the lifestyle data available to researchers.  Verified physical measurements on approximately 30,000 participants include resting blood pressure and heart rate, anthropometrics (including percent body fat measured by bioelectric impedance), and grip strength.  Biological samples available from 30,000 participants include non-fasting blood and urine.  Health outcomes will be captured thanks to participants’ consent to ongoing linkage with administrative health databases.

In 2008, ATP joined a nation-wide research platform called the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project representing more than 300,000 participants.  Together, the consortium of five regional studies provides not only greater statistical power for research, but an opportunity to examine geographical trends in health and wellbeing across Canada’s broad landscape.

ATP welcomes inquiries from the research community within Alberta and beyond.  Those interested should visit the ATP website at www.myatp.ca, or contact the access team via email at ATP.Research@ahs.ca.

Alberta’s Tomorrow Project is funded by Alberta Health and the Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund, the Alberta Cancer Foundation, and the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, and is based in CancerControl Alberta at Alberta Health Services.