Information for Gemini twins

We would like to introduce ourselves, we are the Gemini research team; Clare, Ali, Andrea, Abi, Alice, Lisa, Kristiane and Karima. We are very grateful to all our Gemini families for their help with this very important study. As a Gemini twin, we regularly ask for your help to learn more about the lives and eating habits of young people across the UK. We want to use this page to explain a bit more about the Gemini study and keep you updated with our plans for the future.

What is the Gemini Twin Study?

The Gemini ​Twin Study was set up to better understand how children and their families develop and grow. Over the past 14 years, we have investigated a large number of topics including; eating habits, growth, likes and dislikes, the home environment and many more. We have asked your parents lots of questions about you and your family, starting when you were tiny babies. All of this information has helped us to understand more about growth and development, and has even enabled us to advise charities, health workers, and politicians about helping children lead healthier lives.

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Twins are particularly important for researchers because they can tell us about how nature (our genes) and nurture (our experiences) influence how we grow and who we become. To find out more about this watch our short video below. 

What is my role in the Gemini Twin Study?

Now that you are teenagers, we would like to hear from you directly! We are asking you and your twin to take part because you have been a very valuable part of the Gemini study since the day you were born. By answering questions about youself and your family, you are contributing to ground-breaking and exciting research that will help to shape healthier environments for future generations. 

 

If you do decide to keep helping us with this research, we will ask you questions about your school life, the activities you take part in, what you like to eat, as well as what you think about food and your appearance. We also regularly collect information about your growth such as height and weight measurements. Everything you tell us is kept completely private. When we store your information, your name is replaced with a number so no one can identify who you are.

 

It is up to you to decide whether you want to take part in each aspect of the Gemini study. If you decide you don’t want to take part in something, you don’t even need to explain why. If you are worried about any of the questions we ask, you can talk to your parents, a teacher or a friend.  

When will I be contacted again?

We will be in touch with you and your family at regular intervals to tell you about what we have been doing and to invite you to take part in new projects. We will send out letters and emails, and occasionally get in touch via phone. We will also be releasing regular blog posts that will keep you up to date with our latest research and projects across the team. We will check you are still happy to answer questions the next time we get in touch.

What is the Gemini team working on at the moment?

We are always busy working on lots of varied research projects using the information you and your parents have kindly provided us with throughout your lives. At the moment, Alice and Karima are working on the Gemini COVID-19 Study, where they are using the questionnaires and telephone interviews your families completed to understand how the COVID-19 restrictions are affecting family life at home. You can read about this here. Our PhD students; Alice, Kristiane and Lisa, are also working on a range of other projects. From understanding how free sugar (such as the sugar in soft drinks) might influence child health (Lisa), to understanding how the home environment shapes healthy development (Alice), and looking into social and biological contributors to healthy growth in the first two years of life (Kristiane). Our PhD students have created infographics to tell you more about their research and we will be releasing these as blog posts each month - check them out here. Finally, many children develop healthy eating habits and feel positively about their body shape, but some struggle. However, it is not always clear why this happens.

 

One of the key aims of the next phase of Gemini is to understand how teenagers develop healthy eating habits and good self-esteem. If you would like to keep up to date with these projects and our work generally - do check out our blog which we will keep updating with our most recent findings!

If you have any questions about Gemini, you or your parents are always very welcome to contact us at the study email address: gemini@ucl.ac.uk. We are always happy to have a chat about the study and your part in it. 

 

Once again, we are very grateful for all the time that you have given to the study so far and we are looking forward to sharing more exciting results from our research with you in the future.

Very best wishes,

The Gemini Team
(Clare, Ali, Andrea, Abi, Alice, Lisa, Kristiane and Karima)