Press releases

Launch of Constances, the largest epidemiological cohort study of the French population

07 Mar 2013 | By Inserm (Newsroom) | Public health

Constances is a “generalist’ epidemiological cohort constituted from a representative sample of 200,000 adults aged 18 to 69. It has been organised by the Centre de recherche en épidémiologie et santé des populations (CESP – INSERM/Université Paris Sud/Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines) in partnership with the CNAMTS* and the CNAV and its purpose is to create a national database open to the public health research community.


Under the scientific and technical leadership of Marie Zins (CESP), Constances (CONSulTANts des Centres d’Examens de Santé), has already recruited 14,000 subjects since it was initiated during the course of 2012. The patients were chosen by drawing lots from the CNAV** database and received a letter asking whether they would participate in the cohort. Upon entry into the cohort, the volunteers benefited from a complete health check at the Social Security Health Examination Centres and this check will be repeated every five years. With the help of a questionnaire to be completed annually, they will be providing health information, their lifestyles (work, food, alcohol or tobacco consumption, etc.), and their environment social. This data will be compared with that of the Caisse nationale d’assurance vieillesse** and in the health insurance fund to find out when they were off work sick, the costs of care submitted for reimbursement and the hospitalisation data as well as their social life and careers. Blood and urine samples will also be preserved for the purpose of creating a “biobank”.

The “Investments in the future” programme has been labelled a national biology and health infrastructure. This research project and the creation of this very significant sample (the largest in France and one of the largest in Europe) monitored over time (cohort) has been designed as an “open epidemiological laboratory” accessible to the French and international research community, also acts as a tool that provides those in charge of public health with diversified sources of information about the population’s health, including risk factors, how the health care and the prevention system are used and the medical, occupational and social history of the subjects involved.

“Constances is a generalist cohort but we have stressed the process of ageing and chronic conditions, occupational hazards, women’s health, socially determining factors and social inequalities”

explains Marie Zins.

* Caisse nationale de l’assurance maladie des travailleurs salariés [National Health Insurance Fund for Employees]
** Caisse nationale de l’assurance vieillisse = Old Age Insurance Fund

Researcher Contact
Marie Zins Chercheur au CESP Inserm-UVSQ 01 77 74 74 28 rf.mresni@sniz.eiram
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