About Our Study

Information for Participants and Community Members

What is our goal?

The broad aim of our research is to understand the relationships between growth and health among children aged 6 to 18. This is the period of life when our bodies change slowly—but dramatically—from children into adults (for example, growth spurts). 

What are we doing?

We hope to recruit 200-300 Utilian and Honduran children (ages 6-18) and their primary caregiver into the study. We plan to measure several different things:

Growth and development: Children’s bodies grow in many different ways, including increases in height and weight, voice changes, muscle growth, and more. We will measure body growth of children, as well as interview an adult caregiver about their child’s growth and development.

Hormones: Hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout the body to connect different systems in the body–for example, hormones ensure that when a child’s skeleton grows, so do their muscles. There are over 50 different hormones in the human body; however, in our study, we will be measuring only a small handful of these—those that are closely involved in growth and development of children. We will collect a small amount of saliva, which will be used to analyze these hormones.

Health: We plan to collect a stool sample and several small drops of blood (through a finger prick) to gain insight into levels of infection, parasite load, anemia, and immune system functioning. We will also interview the child’s caregiver about their child’s health, diet, and other things that may impact child health.

How does this help? 

This is a “basic” research study – this means that our primary goal is to learn more about child growth and health, and to share our general findings in reports and articles. Other organizations (for example, government or non-government organizations) may use these findings to design aid interventions. We also plan to share our findings with the Utila community. Working with locals and organizations, we will prepare presentations and reports so participants and others on the island can better understand what we are studying.

We also provide compensation to participants for taking time from their work to participate. Go to our sign up page to learn more about compensation amounts for each interview.

Is there any risk to participating?

This study is completely confidential. This means that we will not share the data with anyone outside the primary research team. Names will not be connected to interview responses in the same data file.

We are interested in general patterns, not specific individuals. All reports or articles will discuss overall findings, and never any particular individual.