Finland made a unique contribution to the Seven Countries Study because of the unusually high saturated fatty acid diet among a physically active rural population. It also had among the highest rates anywhere of CHD in the 1950s. The Finnish colleagues also joined the FINE study and HALE project, two major projects on healthy aging that grew out of the SCS.
The cohorts of East and West Finland
The cohort of East Finland was made up of a “chunk sample” of all men in the rural village of Ilomantsi and surroundings, in the region of North Karelia, Finland. The choice was bound to the allegedly high saturated fat diet and suspect high incidence and mortality from CHD in that area in comparison with West Finland.
The cohort of West Finland was enrolled in the southwest part of the country as a “chunk sample” of all men in and around the rural village of Loima, in an area where the incidence of CHD was thought to be lower than in the eastern part of the country, based on vital statistics.