Clin Exp Pediatr.  2021 Sep;64(9):480-488. 10.3345/cep.2020.01284.

Cohort profile: National Investigation of Birth Cohort in Korea study 2008 (NICKs-2008)

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University School of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea
  • 2Department of Data Science, Sejong University College of Software Convergence, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Pediatrics, Hallym University Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 4F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA


An adequate large-scale pediatric cohort based on nationwide administrative data is lacking in Korea. Purpose: This study established the National Investigation of Birth Cohort in Korea study 2008 (NICKs-2008) based on data from a nationwide population-based health screening program and data on healthcare utilization for children.
The NICKs-2008 study consisted of the Korean National Health Insurance System (NHIS) and the National Health Screening Program for Infants and Children (NHSPIC) databases comprising children born in 2008 (n=469,248) and 2009 (n=448,459) in the Republic of Korea. The NHIS database contains data on age, sex, residential area, income, healthcare utilization (International Classification of Diseases-10 codes, procedure codes, and drug classification codes), and healthcare providers. The NHSPIC consists of 7 screening rounds. These screening sessions comprised physical examination, developmental screening (rounds 2–7), a general health questionnaire, and age-specific anticipatory guidance.
During the 10-year follow-up, 2,718 children (0.3%) died, including more boys than girls (hazard ratio, 1.145; P<0.001). A total of 848,048 children participated in at least 1 of the 7 rounds of the NHSPIC, while 96,046 participated in all 7 screening programs. A total of 823 infants (0.1%) weighed less than 1,000 g, 3,177 (0.4%) weighed 1,000–1,499 g, 37,166 (4.4%) weighed 1,500–2,499 g, 773,081 (91.4%) weighed 2,500–4,000 g, and 32,016 (5.1%) weighed over 4,000 g. There were 23,404 premature babies (5.5%) in 2008 compared to 23,368 (5.6%) in 2009. The developmental screening test indicated appropriate development in 95%–98% of children, follow-up requirements for 1%–4% of children, and recommendations for further evaluation for 1% of children.
The NICKs-2008, which integrates data from the NHIS and NHSPIC databases, can be used to analyze disease onset prior to hospitalization based on information such as lifestyle, eating habits, and risk factors.


Cohort profile; National cohort; Infant; Child; Health screening
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