Online Program

Framingham heart study's influence on public health policy

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Daniel Levy, MD, Boston University School of Medicine and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Framingham Heart Study, Framingham, MA
Throughout the early decades of the 20th century, death rates from coronary heart disease (CHD) increased steadily and were threatening to become an American epidemic. At the time, little was known about the underlying causes of CHD and in the absence of information about etiology, little could be done to prevent or treat these diseases. In 1948, the Framingham Heart Study was established to identify factors of risk for CHD. Framingham researchers recruited 5,209 men and women between the ages of 30 and 62 from the town of Framingham, Massachusetts, and began the first round of extensive clinic examinations and questionnaires that they would later analyze in relation to the development of CHD. Since 1948, the participants have continued to return to the study every two years for follow up evaluations, and in 1971, the Study enrolled a second generation - 5,124 of the original participants' adult children and their spouses - to participate in similar examinations. In 2002, the Framingham Heart Study enrolled a Third Generation cohort of 4095 grandchildren of original Study participants. Over the years, careful monitoring of the Framingham Heart Study participants has led to the identification of many of the major CHD risk factors - high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, and low HDL cholesterol - as well as a great deal of valuable information on the effects of related factors such as physical activity, age, gender, and psychosocial factors. During the 65 years, Framingham Heart Study scientists have published over 2,500 articles in leading medical journals.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the current epidemic of cardiovascular disease in the United States Identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Evaluate the role of epidemiology in understanding the underlying causes for the heart disease epidemic

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Levy is the Director of the Framingham Heart Study. His work focuses on the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease and its major risk factors. Dr. Levi has had a pivotal role in ushering the Framingham Heart Study into the 21st century and positioning it as a major national and international research program. He has trained and mentored scores of research fellows who have gone on to become leaders in the field of cardiovascular medicine.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.