URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2144/2468

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and serious illness in the United States. In 1948, the Framingham Heart Study - under the direction of the National Heart Institute (now known as the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute or NHLBI) - embarked on an ambitious project in health research. At the time, little was known about the general causes of heart disease and stroke, but the death rates for CVD had been increasing steadily since the beginning of the century and had become an American epidemic. The Framingham Heart Study became a joint project of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Boston University.

The objective of the Framingham Heart Study was to identify the common factors or characteristics that contribute to CVD by following its development over a long period of time in a large group of participants who had not yet developed overt symptoms of CVD or suffered a heart attack or stroke.

The 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 physical examinations and lifestyle interviews that they would later analyze for common patterns related to CVD development. Since 1948, the subjects have continued to return to the study every two years for a detailed medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests, 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 1994, the need to establish a new study reflecting a more diverse community of Framingham was recognized, and the first Omni cohort of the Framingham Heart Study was enrolled.

In April 2002 the Study entered a new phase, the enrollment of a third generation of participants, the grandchildren of the Original Cohort. In 2003, a second group of Omni participants was enrolled.

Visit the FHS website for more information.

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