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Geoscience and Health Cohort Consortium (GECCO)

Background information

In the Geoscience and Health Cohort Consortium (GECCO), the databases of six large-scale ongoing cohorts (VU/VUmc) have been enriched with a variety of existing geo-data on address-, zip-code-, as well as neighbourhood level. The six cohort studies that are involved in GECCO are Generations2-study, the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam, the Netherlands Longitudinal Study on Hearing, the Netherlands Study on Depression and Anxiety, the Netherlands Twin Register, and the New Hoorn Study.


The main objective of this Health Behaviours and Chronic Disease (HBCD) pitch-project was to promote the use of environmental data, that were collected in the Geoscience and Health Cohort Consortium (GECCO), by HBCD/APH researchers. In this pitch-project, it was aimed to: (1) complete a policy document regarding the use of geo-data, (2) link geo-data to AMC cohorts, (3) write a paper on environmental influences on weight status, (4) organize two workshops, and (5) to create a GECCO project-page on the APH-website. The pitch-project was conducted from November 2016-February 2017.

Policy document

The policy document regarding the use of geo-data is available online (click here). The geo-data can be requested by APH-researchers by submitting a geo-data request form to the GECCO coordinating team. The procedure is described in more detail in the policy document.

Linkage of geo-data to AMC cohorts

In this pitch-project, the geo-data have been linked to two AMC-cohorts, including the HEalthy LIfe in an Urban Setting (HELIUS) study and the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) study.

Papers and workshops

In this pitch-project, two workshops were organized. In the first workshop, the collected geo-data in GECCO were presented to HBCD/APH researchers. Furthermore, there were several brainstorm-sessions in which APH-researchers could share their research plans. In the second workshop, several collaborations between APH-researchers were initiated on the topic of environmental influences on health behaviours and chronic diseases. During the workshop, researchers also worked together on several scientific papers.

GECCO project-page

More information about GECCO, the policy document and the collected geo-data can be found on the GECCO-project page

Contact details

Jeroen Lakerveld, VU medical center (
Erik Timmermans, Academic Medical Center (
Marieke Hartman, Academic Medical Center (