Background and aims: In the 1960s and 1970s, Finland, mortality due to coronary heart disease (CHD) was over 30% higher among Finns residing in the east of the country compared with those residing in the west. Today, CHD mortality remains 20% higher among eastern Finns. The higher incidence of CHD mortality among eastern Finns has largely been explained by higher risk factor levels. Using a unique longitudinal cohort, we aimed to determine if participants who resided in eastern Finland during childhood had higher CHD risk factors in adulthood and from childhood to adulthood.
Methods: The study population included 2063 participants of the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study, born during the period 1962-1977, with risk factor data available from baseline (1980) when participants were aged 3-18 years, and had risk factor data collected again in adulthood (2011) when aged 34-49 years.
Results: Adult CHD risk factor profile was similar for those who resided in eastern or western Finland in childhood. Over life-course from 1980 to 2011, those subjects with childhood residency in eastern Finland had, on average, higher systolic (p = 0.006) and diastolic (p = 0.0009) blood pressures, total (p = 0.01) and LDL-cholesterol (p = 0.01), triglycerides (p = 0.04), apoB (p = 0.02), and serum glucose (p < 0.0001) than those who resided in western Finland in childhood.
Conclusions: Our sample of adult Finns aged 34-49 years had a similar CHD risk factor profile irrespective of whether they resided in eastern or western Finland during their childhood. However, when considering participants risk factor profiles over a 31-year period, those who resided in eastern Finland in childhood were associated with a less favorable CHD risk factor profile than those who resided in western Finland in childhood. The observed differences suggest that future CHD mortality might remain higher in eastern Finland compared with western Finland.
Keywords: Adulthood; Atherosclerosis precursors; Cardiovascular disease; Longitudinal; Population; Risk factors.
Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.