French Longitudinal Study of Children

How do children grow ?

Until recently, this question had gone unanswered in France, owing to the absence of large-scale studies. At long last, however, researchers from many different disciplines are tracking the lives of children from birth to adulthood. More than 18,000 children born in metropolitan France in 2011 (i.e. one in every 50 children born that year) have been included in the study.

Following these same-aged children over a full two decades will give us a unique opportunity to deepen our understanding of the factors affecting their development and how they find their place in society. Researchers are interested not only in the children’s health, schooling and diet, but also in their family and social life, as well as their environment. It is the drawing together of all these different strands that makes Elfe such an important scientific project

Key answers on child development

Elfe’s longitudinal dimension will allow it to provide better answers to many of the questions that parents and scientists ask about children’s development and wellbeing:

• At what age should new foods be introduced? How do they influence food preferences and subsequent health?
• How do different types of childcare arrangements affect young children’s relations with their peers, their integration at nursery school and their language acquisition?
• What impact do the pollutants in our environment have on children’s health and development?
• What are the family, financial and sociocultural factors that determine children’s academic achievement?
• How do computer use, sport and cultural activities influence children’s socialization and their physical and intellectual development?
• Do our children grow up faster than they used to?

In many areas, the research conducted under the Elfe project will provide the public authorities with benchmarks for devising more effective health and family policies.

Managed by the French National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) and the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), in partnership with the French National Blood Service (EFS), the Elfe study has the backing of a consortium of ministries and public institutions.

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Just published

« Serious Sociological Games in the ELFE Cohort Study: Using Children’s Play to Gain Perspective on their Visions of the World », Bulletin of Sociological Methodology, April 2020. [Link]

« Indoor Microbiome: Quantification of Exposure and Association with Geographical Location, Meteorological Factors, and Land Use in France », Microorganisms, February 2020. [Link]

« Cohort Profile: The French National cohort of children ELFE: birth to 5 years », International Journal of Epidemiology, November 2019. [Link]

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