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The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study (YFS)


The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study (YFS, in Finnish LASERI) is one of the largest follow-up studies into cardiovascular risk from childhood to adulthood. It is a multi-center study, aiming to determine the contribution made by childhood lifestyle, biological and psychological measures to the risk of cardiovascular diseases in adulthood.


3596 children and adolescents aged 3-18 years from all around Finland participated in the baseline study in 1980. Thereafter these subjects have been followed with several examinations including comprehensive risk factor assessments. The follow-up studies in childhood were conducted in 1983 and 1986, and in adulthood in 2001, 2007 and 2011. Over 2,200 young adults, now aged 30 to 45 years, participated in the 27-year follow-up in 2007. In 2001 and 2007 ultrasound examinations were performed to study early structural and functional atherosclerotic vascular changes. The protocol included measurements of carotid artery intima-media thickness, carotid artery elasticity and brachial artery flow-mediated, endothelium-dependent, dilatation. In the 2011 study also liver and heart ultrasound studies as well testing of cognitive functions were performed. From blood samples collected in 2011 also messenger RNA/miRNA has been isolated and whole genome expression studies of nuclear blood cells have been done. YFS study is involved in over 20 international consortia.


The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study: Homepage


University of Turku, University of Tampere

Principal Investigators:
Olli Raitakari, firstname.lastname (at)
Terho Lehtimäki, firstname.lastname (at)
Contact person:
Nina Ruotsalainen, firstname.lastname (at)


Key references:
Multicenter study of atherosclerosis precursors in Finnish children - Pilot study of 8-year-old boys. Viikari J, Åkerblom HK, Nikkari T, Räsänen L, Vuori I, Pyörälä K, Dahl M, Lähde P-L, Pesonen E, Suoninen P and others. Annals of Clinical Research 1982;14:103-10.

A study of cardiovascular risk factors and their determinants in Finnish children. Åkerblom HK, Viikari J, Uhari M, Räsänen L, Suoninen P, Pietikäinen M, Pesonen E, Lähde P-L, Dahl M, Dahlström S and others. Ann Clin Res 1984;16:23-33.

Cardiovascular risk factors in childhood and carotid artery intima-media thickness in adulthood: the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. JAMA 2003;290:2277-83. Raitakari OT, Juonala M, Kähönen M, Taittonen L, Laitinen T, Mäki-Torkko N, Järvisalo MJ, Uhari M, Jokinen E, Rönnemaa T, Akerblom HK, Viikari JS.

Cohort profile: the cardiovascular risk in Young Finns Study.Raitakari OT, Juonala M, Rönnemaa T, Keltikangas-Järvinen L, Räsänen L, Pietikäinen M, Hutri-Kähönen N, Taittonen L, Jokinen E, Marniemi J, Jula A, Telama R, Kähönen M, Lehtimäki T, Akerblom HK, Viikari JS. Int J Epidemiol. 2008 Dec;37(6):1220-6.

Life-time risk factors and progression of carotid atherosclerosis in young adults: the Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study. Juonala M, Viikari JS, Kähönen M, Taittonen L, Laitinen T, Hutri-Kähönen N, Lehtimäki T, Jula A, Pietikäinen M, Jokinen E, Telama R, Räsänen L, Mikkilä V, Helenius H, Kivimäki M, Raitakari OT. Eur Heart J. 2010;31:1745-51.