PURPOSE: The Italian Network of Longitudinal Metropolitan Studies (IN-LiMeS) is a system of integrated data on health outcomes, demographic and socioeconomic information, and represents a powerful tool to study health inequalities. PARTICIPANTS: IN-LiMeS is a multicentre and multipurpose pool of metropolitan population cohorts enrolled in nine Italian cities: Turin, Venice, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, Florence, Leghorn, Prato and Rome. Data come from record linkage of municipal population registries, the 2001 population census, mortality registers and hospital discharge archives. Depending on the source of enrolment, cohorts can be closed or open. The census-based closed cohort design includes subjects resident in any of the nine cities at the 2001 census day; 4 466 655 individuals were enrolled in 2001 in the nine closed cohorts. The open cohort design includes subjects resident in 2001 or subsequently registered by birth or immigration until the latest available follow-up (currently 31 December 2013). The open cohort design is available for Turin, Venice, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna, Prato and Rome. Detailed socioeconomic data are available for subjects enrolled in the census-based cohorts; information on demographic characteristics, education and citizenship is available from population registries. FINDINGS TO DATE: The first IN-LiMeS application was the study of differentials in mortality between immigrants and Italians. Either using a closed cohort design (nine cities) or an open one (Turin and Reggio Emilia), individuals from high migration pressure countries generally showed a lower mortality risk. However, a certain heterogeneity between the nine cities was noted, especially among men, and an excess mortality risk was reported for some macroareas of origin and specific causes of death. FUTURE PLANS: We are currently working on the linkage of the 2011 population census data, the expansion of geographical coverage and the implementation of the open design in all the participating cohorts.
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