Incident solar radiation and coronary heart disease mortality rates in Europe

Eur J Epidemiol. 2008;23(9):609-14. doi: 10.1007/s10654-008-9274-y. Epub 2008 Aug 14.


The reported low mortality rate from coronary heart disease in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, and France, to a lesser extent, has been attributed in numerous nutritional studies to the consumption of a Mediterranean-type diet. There are still many unresolved issues about the direct causal effect of the Mediterranean dietary regime on low incidence of coronary heart disease. An analysis of coronary heart disease mortality rates in Europe from a latitudinal gradient perspective has shown to have a close correlation to incident solar radiation. It is surmised that the resulting increased in situ biosynthesis of Vitamin D(3) could be the critical missing confounder in the analysis of the beneficial health outcome of the Mediterranean diet.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholecalciferol / biosynthesis
  • Coronary Disease / mortality*
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Diet, Mediterranean
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Sunlight*
  • Time Factors


  • Cholecalciferol