Italy played a central role not only in the Seven Countries Study but also in the pilot studies leading up to it. In 1957, a preliminary field survey was carried out in Nicotera, a small village in Calabria in the south of Italy. Two rural cohorts and a railroad cohort with different diets were enrolled in the Study. Italian colleagues later joined the FINE study and the HALE project.
The three cohorts of Italy
The cohort of Crevalcore was a “chunk sample” of all men living in the rural village of Crevalcore, located in northern Italy, in a plains area where the traditional diet was thought rich in animal fat.
The cohort of Montegiorgio was a “chunk sample” of all men living in the rural village of Montegiorgio, located in central Italy, in a hilly area about 30 km inland from the Adriatic sea, where it was thought a more “Mediterranean diet” was consumed than in Crevalcore.
The cohort of the Rome railroad represented the Italian counterpart of the US railroad group. Men working in four occupations with different levels of physical activity were enrolled in Rome and surrounding rail centers.