The seven countries study: 2,289 deaths in 15 years

Prev Med. 1984 Mar;13(2):141-54. doi: 10.1016/0091-7435(84)90047-1.


Among 11,579 men ages 40-59 without evidence of cardiovascular disease, 2,289 died in 15 years, 618 from coronary heart disease. The 15 cohorts in seven countries (four regions) differed in all-causes death rate, mainly reflecting great differences in coronary mortality. Among characteristics of entry, only mean blood pressure helped to explain cohort differences in all-causes death rate. Three-quarters of the variance in coronary death rate was accounted for by differences in mean serum cholesterol and blood pressure of the cohorts. The mortality risk for individuals was examined in each of the regions. For coronary death, age, serum cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking were highly significant in all regions except Japan, where coronary deaths were too few for evaluation. Relative weight was not significant anywhere. Physical activity was significant only in southern Europe, where differences are associated with socioeconomic status. For all-causes death, age and blood pressure were highly significant risk factors in all regions as was smoking habit, except in Japan. Relative body weight tended to be a negative risk factor everywhere, significantly so in southern Europe. Expectations for coronary death from the experience in the United States and northern Europe greatly exceeded observed deaths in southern Europe for men of their age, serum cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking habits, physical activity, and relative weight. The reverse, prediction of coronary deaths in America and in northern Europe from the southern European experience, greatly underestimated the deaths observed. Similar cross-predictions between the United States and northern Europe were good for all-causes deaths, excellent for coronary deaths. Analysis of time trends in relationships of mortality to entry characteristics showed continued importance of age, blood pressure, and smoking and a tendency for the importance of cholesterol to fall in the last 5 years of follow-up.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Coronary Disease / mortality*
  • Europe
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypertension / complications
  • International Cooperation*
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Physical Exertion
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Smoking
  • Time Factors
  • United States