Health 2020, which is also
referred to by its scientific title of Melbourne
Collaborative Cohort Study, was set up in 1990 to investigate the roles of
diet and lifestyle in causing cancer and other diseases.
The study involves more
than 41,000 Melbourne residents who joined between 1990 and 1994. On joining,
Health 2020 participants were interviewed and information was collected about
their health, diet and lifestyle, clinical measures were made (e.g. blood pressure,
body measurements) and a blood sample was taken.
The study aims to follow
this group of people over a long period of time to see who develops diseases
such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Using the information gathered at
the beginning of the study, it should be possible to identify what might have
contributed to the development of disease.
Who funds Health 2020?
Health 2020 is one of
Australia's largest prospective cohort studies and it has been supported since
its beginning by Cancer Council Victoria. In recent years it has also received
funding from VicHealth and the National
Health and Medical Research Council.
Diet and lifestyle
When Health 2020 began, one
of the questions it sought to answer related to earlier research showing that migrants
from Southern Europe were less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and
certain cancers. Health 2020 researchers were interested to see whether this
was due to the diet and lifestyle of the migrants. Therefore Health 2020 included
many migrants from Italy and Greece, and almost one third of Health 2020
participants were born outside Australia.
More recently, with
advances in genetic research technology, Health 2020 has begun to focus on
exploring the genetic causes of disease. Using the blood samples collected at
the beginning of the study, researchers have been able to extract DNA. This
has been used in many research studies within Australia and internationally.
Health 2020 follow-ups
From time to time, Health
2020 collects further information from study participants, updating data on
health, diet and lifestyle.
What has Health 2020
Health 2020 has resulted in
almost 800 scientific studies, with findings too numerous to report here. If you're interested in searching the
internet for the scientific publications, the suggested search terms are: Health
2020; Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study; MCCS.
Summaries of some of the
findings are also reported in the Health 2020 newsletters which can be
Health 2020 newsletters
Health 2020 newsletters are
produced to keep participants up to date on the study's findings and provide
further information about the study.
The data collected by
Health 2020 is used by researchers at Cancer Council Victoria, but it is also
available to other researchers for approved collaborative research. If you're a
researcher interested in using Health 2020 resources, see our PEDIGREE program for more details.
Summaries of the data
collected from Health 2020 participants at the time of joining the study (baseline)
are available as Databooks. These enable researchers and other interested
people to understand the nature and range of the information collected by
The Databooks are in four
volumes, and describe each variable collected at baseline. For all categorical
data, frequencies and cross-tabulations are provided. For continuous data, the
Databooks provide frequencies, cross-tabulations and box plots by sex, country
of birth and age group.