Rural-urban differences in health and health behaviour: A baseline description of a community health-promotion programme for the elderly.

Mikael Fogelholm, Raisa Valve, Pilvikki Absetz, Heikki Heinonen, Antti Uutela, Kristiina Patja, Antti Karisto, Riikka Konttinen, Tiina Mäkelä, Aulikki Nissinen, Piia Jallinoja, Olli Nummela, Martti Talja

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    80 Citations (Scopus)


    STUDY OBJECTIVE: To (1) describe the setting and design of the Good Ageing in Lahti Region (GOAL) programme; (2) by using the baseline results of the GOAL cohort study, to examine whether living in urban, semi-urban, or rural communities is related to risk factors for chronic diseases and functional disability in ageing individuals.

    DESIGN: The baseline data of a cohort study of ageing individuals living in three community types (urban, semi-urban, rural). Data were collected by two questionnaires and laboratory assessments.

    SETTING: Fourteen municipalities in the Lahti region (Päijät-Häme County) in Finland.

    PARTICIPANTS: A regionally and locally stratified random sample of men and women born in 1946-50, 1936-40, and 1926-30. A total of 4,272 were invited and 2,815 (66%) participated.

    MAIN RESULTS: Elevated serum cholesterol, obesity, disability, sedentary lifestyle (<2 times/week walking), and high fat intake were more prevalent in rural vs. urban and semi-urban communities. After adjustment for sex, age, education, obesity, diet, physical activity, smoking, and alcohol use, rural communities remained the only community type with increased (p<0.05) probability for high BMI (OR 1.33) and high waist circumference (OR 1.43).

    CONCLUSIONS: The unfavourable health and lifestyle profile, together with an old population, makes health promotion for elderly citizens a special challenge for rural communities such as those in Päijät-Häme County, Finland. Most, if not all, of the differences in health between the three community types were explained by educational background, physical activity, and smoking.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)632-640
    Number of pages9
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Aged
    • Aging/physiology
    • Attitude to Health
    • Cohort Studies
    • Community Health Services
    • Female
    • Finland
    • Health Behavior
    • Health Promotion
    • Health Status
    • Humans
    • Life Style
    • Male
    • Risk Factors
    • Rural Population
    • Socioeconomic Factors
    • Surveys and Questionnaires
    • Urban Population


    Dive into the research topics of 'Rural-urban differences in health and health behaviour: A baseline description of a community health-promotion programme for the elderly.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this