Lessons from the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study
The Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study is one of a handful of long-term cohort studies that began in childhood/adolescence. The unique characteristics of this cohort, with many repeated measures on a wide range of lifestyle and biological cardiovascular risk factors covering periods from adolescence through adulthood, when arterial aging phenotypes were thoroughly characterized, has provided valuable information for the better understanding of the etiology of arterial aging. This chapter describes the cohort profile and summarizes its key findings on the early and lifelong determinants of carotid stiffness (used as a marker of early vascular aging). Emphasis was put on findings derived from a life course approach to the analyses of the repeated risk factor exposure data since adolescence. We were able to identify pivotal risk factors and pinpoint the critical periods earlier in life when these were likely to start exerting its deleterious effects on vascular aging later in life. Adoption of healthy lifestyle early in life and sustained throughout the life course are of utmost importance to prevent early vascular aging.