Table of Contents
Epidemiology Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 936365, 9 pages
Research Article

Determinants of Attrition to Follow-Up in a Multicentre Cohort Study in Children-Results from the IDEFICS Study

1Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology, BIPS, Germany
2Department of Biometry and Data Management, Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology, BIPS, Germany
3Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium
4Department of Paediatrics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Sweden
5Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
6Department of Pediatrics, Medical Faculty, University of Pécs, Hungary
7GENUD Research Group, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, University of Zaragoza, Spain
8Research and Education Institute of Child Health, Cyprus
9National Institute for Health Development, Estonia
10Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura Giovanni Paolo II, Università Cattolica, Campobasso, Italy
11College of Medicine, Veterinary & Life Sciences, Institute of Cardiovascular & Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK
12Department of Intercultural Communication and Management, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
13Unit of Epidemiology & Population Genetics, Institute of Food Sciences, National Research Council, Avellino, Italy
14Department of Epidemiological Methods and Etiologic Research, Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology, BIPS, University of Bremen, 28359, Germany

Received 10 January 2013; Accepted 13 April 2013

Academic Editor: Demosthenes Panagiotakos

Copyright © 2013 Sabrina Hense et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cohort participant retention is a crucial element and may depend on several factors. Based on data from a multicentre cohort of European children, the effect of baseline participation on attrition and the association with and the impact of single determinants in relation to the extent of attrition were investigated. Data was available for 16,225 children from the IDEFICS baseline survey (2007/2008). Attrition was defined as nonparticipation in the first follow-up examination (2009/2010). Determinants of attrition were analysed by logistic regression. The statistical significance level was set at to account for the large sample size. The strongest associations were seen for baseline item non-response, especially when information on migration background (odds ratio (OR) = 1.55; 99% confidence interval (CI): 1.04, 2.31), single parenthood (OR = 1.37; 99% CI: 1.12, 1.67), or well-being (OR = 1.46; 99% CI: 1.19, 1.79) was lacking. Drop-out proportion rose with the number of missing items. Overweight, low education, single parenthood and low well-being scores were independent determinants of attrition. Baseline participation, and the individual determinant effects seemed unrelated to the variation of the extent of attrition between study centres. A high level of item nonresponse as well as overweight and disadvantageous sociodemographic conditions were identified as main attrition determinants, suggesting the consideration of these aspects in conduct and analysis of cohort studies in childhood obesity research.