INGER: "Integrating gender into environmental health research: Building a sound evidence basis for gender-sensitive prevention and environmental health protection" (2017 – 2021)

Study Topic

Knowledge about the multiple pathways on which sex and gender do affect health is an inevitable condition for preventive action. However, sex and gender are to a large extent neglected in environmental health research. In this project, gender-sensitive research methods will be developed for conceptualization and operationalization of sex/gender in data collection and analyses. Thereby, the project focuses on environmental epidemiology, toxicology and public health and will be supplied by gender-theoretical perspectives.

Work packages:

WP1: To assess the current state of consideration of sex/gender in environmental health research via systematic reviews
WP2:To develop new questionnaire modules based on gender theoretical concepts in consideration of acceptability and practical requirements of data collection in population-based studies on environmental health
WP3:  Data collection in the KORA (Kooperative Gesundheitsforschung in der Region Augsburg) cohort and the German Environmental Specimen Bank
WP4: To identify methodological approaches of multivariable data analyses adequate to quantify sex/gender impacts on environmental exposures and health

To build an evidence basis to detect susceptible population groups and minimize health risks from environmental exposures and to derive recommendations for practice of gender-sensitive environment health protection and prevention

Study design
Mixed-methods design comprising systematic reviews and meta-analyses, questionnaire development, multivariable data analyses of newly collected and already available data, and interdisciplinary integration of results.

Study population

  • Representative study population of KORA (Kooperative Gesundheitsforschung in der Region Augsburg, adults aged ≥ 25 years)
  • Representative study populations of the German Environmental Survey GerES IV (2003-2006) and V (2014-2017) (children and adolescents aged 3-17 years)
  • Non-representative study population of the Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB, adults aged 20-29 years)
  • Representative health surveys (public use files)

All study populations consist of approximately 50% female, 50% male study participants.


  • Environmental epidemiology: Air pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, NO2, Ozone), air temperature, environmental noise
  • Environmental toxicology/human biomonitoring: environmental substances measured in body fluids (blood, urine) and tissues (hair); amongst others plasticisers, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), metals, parabens, certain pesticides and pyrrolidones
  • Environmental public health: built environment given by the respondents comprising information on e.g. air pollution, noise, green spaces, and infrastructure


  • Environmental epidemiology: Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality
  • Environmental toxicology/human biomonitoring: human body burden; endocrine disrupting, cancerogenic or sensitizing properties of environmental chemicals
  • Environmental public health: Subjective health status, health-related quality of life, overweight/obesity

Current status

WP1: Ongoing.
WP2: Completed.
WP3: Completed.
WP4: Ongoing.

Related publication

Bolte G, Dębiak M, Groth K, Jacke K, Kolossa-Gehring M, Kraus U, Nanninga S, Palm K, Schneider A. Verbundprojekt INGER: Neue Ansätze zur Integration von Geschlecht in die Forschung zu umwelbezogener Gesundheit. Umweltbundesamt, Reihe: Broschüren; UMID 01/2018: 83-87.


Leading partner
Department of Social Epidemiology, Institute for Public Health and Nursing Research, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany

Other partners

  • Helmholtz Zentrum München, Institute of Epidemiology, Research Group “Environmental Risks“, Neuherberg, Germany
  • German Environment Agency, Dessau-Rosslau, Berlin, Germany
  • Humboldt-University of Berlin, Institute of History, Gender and Science, Berlin, Germany


Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health
Institute of Epidemiology
Dr. Ute Kraus


Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany (Funding period: July 2017 – June 2021)

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