The STRIP study is unique worldwide; no other study has started dietary intervention in infancy and continued it for 20 years, and simultaneously collected data with repeated measurements on a vast number of risk factors and subclinical markers for cardiovascular health.
The main purpose of the STRIP Study (Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project) is the prevention of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease by a dietary intervention which began in infancy and has continued to early adulthood. The trial was launched in 1990 when 1062 7-month-old children and their families were enrolled. Half of the families have received individualized dietary and other life-style counseling at least twice a year whereas the rest of the families have served as a control group. The STRIP Study intervention continued until the participants reached the age of 20 years. At the moment, the study participants are 23 to 25 years old (March 2015).
The main aim of the dietary counseling has been the replacement of saturated fat with unsaturated fat in the child’s diet. In addition, the counseling has promoted use of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain products and a low intake of salt. A fixed diet was never ordered. During the first years, the counseling was given primarily to the parents. From the age of 7 years onwards, progressively more information was given directly to the child. Dietary recommendations were based on the Nordic nutrition guidelines. In addition to diet, child-oriented counseling aiming at primary prevention of smoking began at the child's age of 8 years. For more detailed description of the cohort and intervention, please see Simell et al. Int J Epidemiol 2009.
The main outcome measures comprise food consumption and nutrient intake data, serum lipid and lipoprotein concentrations, measures of somatic growth and development, blood pressure, and ultrasonic measures of arterial intima-media thickness, distensibility and endothelial function. The intervention has led to favorable changes in diet, and e.g. lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, and diminished clustering of risk factors. These changes have occurred without affecting growth or neurological development of the children. In the cohort, several other aspects of cardiovascular health have also been examined, e.g. the associations of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and physical activity with the arterial measures.
Results of the STRIP Study have affected national and international dietary guidelines. Recently, the results were highly recognized in the U.S. guidelines for cardiovascular health and risk reduction in children and adolescents, please see
The first STRIP Follow-up Study will begin in spring 2015 continuing the collection of the unique data bank and also introducing novel aspects associated with cardiovascular health.
The longitudinal design and extensive data collected since early childhood in the STRIP Study enable multidisciplinary investigation of primordial prevention of cardiovascular diseases – central at the individual and societal level.
Institutions: The Research Centre of Applied and Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine, Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital; Social Insurance Institution, Research Department, Turku; Institute for Health and Welfare, Turku; Paavo Nurmi Centre, Turku Finland.