photo by Ilpo Torn (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

The municipality of in the region of North Karelia in the east of Finland is home to a remarkably successful health program. Eastern Finland once had the highest death rate from heart disease in the world. In 1972 a Finnish government led project was launched in cooperation with the WHO to combat heart disease in Eastern Finland, starting in North Karelia.

The North Karelia Project focuses on lifestyle factors in non-communicable diseases – primarily diet and exercise.

By 2006 the annual mortality rate of coronary heart disease in North Karelia in the working age population had fallen approximately 85 %, compared with the rate before the Project.

–National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland

Check out this video report on the Karelia health project from NBC:

NBC Nightly News – Creating a healthy community

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