University of Minnesota

Belgian Bank Study

Study Category: The Cohort Studies (1947-1972)
Year Begun: 1964
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Principal Investigator: Kornitzer, Marcel
External Resource: View URL


The Belgian Bank Study, started in 1964, has a follow-up of the cohort of more than 25 years. Marcel Kornitzer and colleagues examined the CVD predictive power of risk factors identified by earlier studies and also found long-term predictors of all-cause mortality.


Cohorts were men 40-59, employees from two different banks and were assessed for blood pressure, height and weight (BMI), serum cholesterol, smoking habits, history of angina, and an ECG. There were follow up checks at about 5 years and again at about 10 years.


In the 25 year follow-up, those who died of all causes were older at entry and had higher levels of blood pressure, serum cholesterol and prevalence rates of smoking. The same findings were found for those who had died of coronary heart disease. No significant differences in body mass index were found between those who were still alive and those who had died.

Of the risk factors identified, age and systolic blood pressure were significantly associated with total mortality for all three periods of the study. Cigarette smoking was independently associated with total mortality for the 25 year follow-up but not for the first 10 years of the study. Analyzing deaths from coronary heart disease showed that age, serum cholesterol, and cigarette smoking were independently associated over the 25 year period. Body mass index was not associated with either all-cause mortality or with coronary-specific mortality.


The study confirmed the universality of most CVD risk factors and provided one of several examples in which BMI was poorly predictive of CVD or total mortality risk in healthy general adult populations. (FB/HB)


“Belgian Bank Study” accessed online on 8/24/06.

M. Kornitzer, Dramaix, M., Beriot, I., “Twenty-Five-Year Mortality Follow-up in the Belgian Bank Study.” Cardiology (1993) 82: 153-171.