The Rancho Bernardo Study Study (RBS) was founded by Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, in 1972 as a population-based heart disease risk factor screening survey of all residents of the community of Rancho Bernardo, California at that time. This study was part of the nation-wide Lipid Research Clinic (LRC) Prevalence program, a multi-centered collaborative study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. All Rancho Bernardo residents were invited to participate in the free examinations that were conducted in a trailer in a supermarket parking lot. Data collected from participants at this visit (Visit 1) included their name, address, phone number, date of birth; demographic variables such as sex, marital status, occupation of head of household, education and race; physical characteristics such as weight, height, blood pressure; personal and family history of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and personal use of medications for various illnesses; laboratory determination of fasting total cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose; and finally, questions about a few health habits such as cigarette smoking, and egg and milk consumption were asked. Refer to the Visit 1 section of the code book to see the forms used. Visit 1 was completed in 1974. There were 6,629 participants in Visit 1.
Of the 6,629 subjects screened at Visit 1, 519 were “volunteers” to the study, i.e., they were not part of the original target population, but were screened at Visit 1 anyway. Most of these volunteers were children of the target population and friends or relatives who did not live in RB and hence were not part of the target population but came to the screening with an eligible subject. These volunteers were screened for the sake of good public relations.