The North Karelia Project was a community-based pilot programme in an Eastern Finnish community of 180,000 adults. During the intervention period from 1972 to 1977, the project successfully demonstrated that changing risk factors at the community level was feasible and could result in a significant reduction in disease rates. The North Karelia Project used mass media for dissemination of the message, but relied on face-to-face contact to persuade people to adopt the new lifestyles. Training seminars for professionals were a key programme component. On average, one seminar was conducted every two and a half weeks. Total project costs were only one per cent of the total health services costs for the county during the project. These findings suggest that community programmes can improve both subjective and objective cardiovascular health, and that the strategy of integrating funding into the project recruitment and commitment process is appropriate and may even be necessary for a successful community based heart disease prevention programme.
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Community intervention programme