Trends in serum cholesterol and lifestyle indicators in Members of the Finnish Parliament

Public Health. 2003 Jan;117(1):11-4. doi: 10.1016/s0033-3506(02)00010-0.


Objective: To examine the extent that public health promotion activity is reflected in life styles of national decision makers, by analysing trends in coronary heart disease risk factors in Members of the Finnish Parliament (MPs).

Methods: The MPs were studied at the beginning of two subsequent 4-year parliamentary periods between 1991 and 1999. The studies included analyses of serum total cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and a questionnaire about alcohol, smoking and physical activity.

Results: Serum total cholesterol was above the national recommendation of 5.0 mmol/l in 85% of the male MPs and 62% of the female MPs. The mean level of serum total cholesterol increased in female MPs during the 4-year follow-up period (P < 0.05), and male MPs showed an increase in mean HDL cholesterol (P < 0.001). The mean body mass index increased in both male (P < 0.01) and female (P < 0.01) MPs during the same period. Alcohol consumption, smoking and physical activity were unchanged during follow-up.

Conclusions: From the public health perspective, serum cholesterol is too high in most MPs, and the level in males is above the national average. Both males and females put on weight during the parliamentary period, and male MPs also showed an increase in HDL cholesterol, which may be explained by other lifestyle factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cholesterol / blood*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Coronary Disease / etiology
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Government*
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypercholesterolemia / epidemiology*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / prevention & control
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol