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The Northern Sweden MONICA Study

Research infrastructure The MONICA Study was initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an international survey to measure trends and determinants in cardiovascular disease. The MONICA registries for stroke, heart attack and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest monitor trends in the incidence of these cardiovascular diseases in the counties of Norrbotten and Västerbotten.

In order to monitor underlying risk factors for these diseases, population-based surveys are regularly conducted. Eight such surveys have so far been conducted between 1986 and 2022. In each survey, 2 500 individuals aged 25 to 74 were invited to participate (except in 1986 and 1990, when 2 000 individuals aged 25 to 64 were invited).

Just over 12 000 people have participated in total, of which 4 000 have participated on at least two occasions.

Strategic relevance

The Northern Sweden MONICA Study’s main objective is to measure trends in cardiovascular disease and diabetes and associated risk factors in northern Sweden. The study also aims to monitor the levels of certain environmental pollutants over time.

Analysing trends over time in cardiovascular disease and associated risk factors is of the utmost importance for improving public health. The Northern Sweden MONICA Study is unique in terms of persistence and methods that enable comparisons over time.

As a result, the MONICA Study generates unique data for different types of epidemiological research. Together, risk-factor data, validated outcomes, and a comprehensive sample collection, allow researchers to conduct prospective case-referent studies with a focus on causality. Collected blood samples are of high quality, which enables the use of modern omics technologies.

MONICA’s strength is its combination of data, outcomes, and biobank, together with a unique longevity over time. There are no other studies of this kind in Sweden.

The MONICA study and the Västerbotten Intervention Programme (VIP) complement each other and together form an important infrastructure for monitoring public health in northern Sweden and for pioneering epidemiological research at Umeå University.

Learn more: the MONICA study (in Swedish)


Stefan Söderberg
Professor, senior consultant (attending) physician
Latest update: 2024-02-29