The North Karelia Project

In the 1960s, the province of North Karēlia, Finland had one of the highest mortality rates from heart disease. The community appealed for help, and in 1972 authorities partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch the North Karēlia Project, which “aimed to transform the social and physical environment of North Karēlia.”

Experts found that North Karēlians were at risk due to many lifestyle choices: a high smoking population, and an unhealthy diet including excessive salt and butter. The intervention was conducted at a community level involving health services, schools, local media campaigns, supermarkets, food industry, and many others aiming to reverse these high-risk tendencies.

The initial project period lasted from 1972-1977 and resulted in the desired reduction in cardiovascular disease which experts attributed to reduction of risk factors. Today, North Karēlians continue to live healthier lives by maintaining the healthy changes initiated 40 years ago.

For more information, please visit: The Miracle Up North