Abstract. Eriksson M, Holmgren L, Janlert U, Jansson J-H, Lundblad D, Stegmayr B, Söderberg S, Eliasson M (Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå; Research Department, Norrbotten County Council, Luleå; Department of Medicine, Skellefteå Hospital, Skellefteå; Department of Medicine, Sunderby Hospital, Luleå; and National Board of Health and Welfare, Stockholm, Sweden). Large improvements in major cardiovascular risk factors in the population of northern Sweden: the MONICA study 1986–2009. J Intern Med 2011; 269: 219–231.
Objectives. The incidence of cardiovascular disease has declined rapidly in Sweden since the 1980s. We explored changes in major cardiovascular risk factors in northern Sweden between 1986 and 2009.
Design. Since 1986, six population surveys have been carried out in northern Sweden using procedures of the World Health Organization MONICA project. The population age range was 25–64 years in 1986 and 1990, and 25–74 years from 1994. Trends were analysed using generalized linear models.
Results. A total of 10 586 subjects were included in the surveys. Blood pressure decreased by 4.9/3.9 mmHg in women and 1.8/1.5 mmHg in men aged 25–64 years between 1986 and 2009. In men and women aged 65–74 years, the decrease was 12.6/6.1 mmHg between 1994 and 2009. From 1994, the use of blood pressure-lowering drugs increased, particularly among the older subgroup. The prevalence of smoking halved between 1986 and 2009; 11% of women and 9% of men were smokers in 2009. Cholesterol levels decreased by 0.9 mmol L−1 in the younger age group (25–64 years), and the use of lipid-lowering agents increased from 1994. Among subjects aged 25–64 years, one in five was obese in 2009, which was twice as many as in 1986, and body mass index (BMI) increased by 1.5 kg m−2, corresponding to an increase in weight of 4 kg. There was no further increase in BMI from 2004. The prevalence of diabetes did not change between 1986 and 2009. The proportion that received a university education increased markedly in all age groups, especially in women, during the study period.
Conclusions. Significant improvements were observed in major cardiovascular risk factors in northern Sweden between 1986 and 2009.