Nutritional epidemiology

Our main field of research is epidemiological research, but we also do clinical trials. Our main study population for the research of nutrition and chronic diseases is the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), one of the most extensively examined study populations in the world. Our other important study population is the ongoing Finnish Vitamin D Trial (FIND), which is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 5-y supplementation study of the benefits and risks of vitamin D in the primary prevention of CVD and cancer among 2600 men ≥60 y and women ≥65 y.

The KIHD study and the FIND study are included into several international networks, which have been involved and will be involved in several meta-analyses. The most important networks are the Global Burden of Metabolic Risk Factors of Chronic Diseases Collaborating Group, Fatty Acids and Outcomes Pooling Project, NCD Risk Factor Collaboration and Vitamin D and the risk of cardiovascular disease (D-CarDia).

Collecting food record data and converting written data into electronic database is time consuming and expensive. Therefore, we have created an internet-based and automated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to collect nutritional data in large study populations. In addition to the FIND study, studies applying our FFQ are the Kuopio Birth Cohort (KuBiCo), Intestinal and Nasal Microbiota of Patients with Idiopathic Parkinson's Disease (Helsinki University Hospital), Neurodegeneration in Multiple Sclerosis (Kuopio University Hospital) and Microbiome, Narcolepsy, and ADHD Study (University of Turku). The three last ones examine the role of colon microbiota in chronic diseases.

The ‘core group’ (Voutilainen, Virtanen, Tuomainen, Nurmi and Mursu), have over 150 person-years of experience in epidemiological research and supplementation studies.

Research projects

1. Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD)

2. Finnish Vitamin D Trial (FIND)

3. Kuopio Birth Cohort (KuBiCo)

Group leaders
Adjunct Professor, RD, PhD Sari Voutilainen, sari.voutilainen(at)
Assistant Professor, RD, PhD Jyrki Virtanen, jyrki.virtanen(at)

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