Powered by
Reducing death rates from heart disease in Finland
In the 1970s, Finland had the world’s highest death rate from cardiovascular disease. This was largely a result of widespread and heavy tobacco use, high-fat diet and low vegetable intake. In response to local concerns, a large-scale community-based intervention was organized, involving consumers, schools, and social and health services. It included legislation banning tobacco advertising, the introduction of low-fat dairy and vegetable oil products, changes in farmers’ payment schemes (linking payment for milk to protein rather than fat content), and incentives for communities achieving the greatest cholesterol reduction. Death rates from heart disease in men have been reduced by at least 65%, and lung cancer death rates in men have also fallen. Greatly reduced cardiovascular and cancer mortality has led to greater life expectancy – approximately seven years for men and six years for women.