Background information on the FinHealth Study

Isä, äiti ja molemmilla lapsi sylissä

The research data gathered on participants in population studies are used for significant national purposes, such as:

  • Physicians’ treatment guidelines for conditions such as hypertension, blood lipids, memory disorders and obesity. The development of care recommendations requires information on the level of risk factors.

  • Various online risk calculators have been developed for the assessment and promotion of individual health: the diabetes risk calculator, FINRISKI calculator, arterial disease calculator and memory disorder risk calculator.

  • National programmes such as the Allergy Programme and Obesity Programme use the data gathered in population studies. The results of the FinHealth Study will be used to evaluate the success of these programmes.

  • The monitoring of micronutrients and vitamins obtained from food in order to prevent deficiencies. Deficiencies in the intake of vitamin D have been found in Finland since the late 1990s, and the deficiency has been rectified by adding vitamin D to food fats and dairy products, and by updating the guidelines on the use of vitamin D supplements. These measures have significantly increased the intake of vitamin D. The intake of iodine, for example, requires similar monitoring and measures.

The data obtained from population study participants has been invaluable for several internationally significant scientific breakthroughs:

  • The risk of memory disorders can be mitigated by observing a healthy diet, taking regular exercise and exercising one’s memory. 

  • Regarding the mechanisms of contracting allergies, it is known that factors such as exposure to natural environments during childhood can protect against allergies. 

  • Studies of the human genome have isolated genes causing conditions such as lactose intolerance, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. A genetic heart disease risk calculator for identifying the hereditary causes of cardiovascular disease is currently under development.

  • Working-age mortality from cardiovascular disease has decreased by 82% from the 1970s. The reduction in mortality is mostly due to favourable changes in risk factors, i.e. lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and by the decrease in smoking. This makes Finland a pioneer of health promotion.