Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study (AGGO)


In 1974, a longitudinal study was planned to monitor the growth, health and life-style, over a period of four years, of boys and girls entering secondary school. The reason for this follow-up was a series of intervention studies to measure the effectiveness of more intensive and extra physical education lessons in 12-13 year-old boys. In general, no clear effects were found. There were indications that large inter-individual differences between the pupils in biological development and habitual physical activity could have masked any intervention effects. At that time, health authorities were complaining about the level of fitness of youngsters in their late teens. In growing towards independence, the life-style habits of teenagers change considerably (with regard to physical activity, food intake, tobacco smoking and alcohol consumption). Thereby, their health perspective may also change. This illustrates that the teenage period is an important period in life. Individual changes in growth and development can be described most precisely by studying the same participants over a longer period of time. That is what led to the birth of the Amsterdam Growth and Health Longitudinal Study (AGAHLS); approximately 650 boys and girls (mean age of 13 years) from the first two grades of two secondary schools in the Netherlands were included in the study. During the adolescence period, participants were measured annually during school hours, and thereafter, six more examinations took place, of which the most recent took place in 2006 (mean age of 42 years). Currently, around 350 participants are still enrolled in the study.


The AGAHLS project team has been collaborating with numerous research departments and scientific institutions, within and outside the VU University. We are collaborating both nationally as well as internationally.


AGAHLS data collection has resulted in over 250 scientific papers published in (inter)national peer reviewed journals and ten PhD defenses. A summary of these results can be found on our website or on the Pubmed website.

Contact information

Please contact the project leaders Jos Twisk ( or Willem van Mechelen ( for further information or visit our website