University of Minnesota

Copenhagen City Heart Study

Year Begun: 1976
Principal Investigator: Schnohr, Peter


Initiated in 1976 by Peter Schnohr, Gorm Jensen and A. Tybjærg Hansen, the original purpose of the study was to increase knowledge about the prevention of CHD and stroke. Added over the years were questions about heart failure, pulmonary diseases, arthrosis, allergy, epilepsy, dementia, stress, sleep-apnea, “vital exhaustion,” and genetics.


The population was a random sample of 19,698 individuals, 9,381 men and 10,317 women ages 20-93 years, drawn from the Copenhagen population of January 1, 1976. The oversampling of women was to better address why women have CHD-events several years older, on average, than men.


The 1976-1978 initial exam, had a response rate of 74.0%; the second examination took place in 1981-1983 (response 70.1%), the third in 1991-1994 (61.2 %) and the fourth in 2001-2003 (49.5%). Procedures are described in reference 1.


By the end of 2006, some 500 articles and 43 theses were published, including original findings about apparently protective actions of physical activity and wine consumption.


“Denmark has an unique opportunity for epidemiological studies because the follow-up of participants in our medical system is almost 100%, both for morbidity and mortality. However, physicians on the steering committee must work without salary as no professional or academic positions exist in CVD epidemiology and prevention research. The total staff costs of the City Study for a year are about $150,000 US dollars. The project has still not found why women survive men by several years, but continues to work on it.” (PS)


1. Schnohr, Peter, G. Jensen, P. Lange, H. Scharling, and M. Appleyard. 2001. The Copenhagen City Heart Study. Tables with data from the third examination 1991-1994. European Heart Journal 3 (suppl H): H1-H83.

Grønbæk, M., A. Deis, T.I.A. Sørensen, U. Becker, P. Schnohr, and G. Jensen. 1995. Mortality associated with moderate intakes of wine, beer and spirits. British Medical Journal 310: 1165-1169.

Lange P., J. Parner, J. Vestbo, G. Jensen, and P. Schnohr. 1998. A 15-year follow-up study of ventilatory function in adults with asthma. New England Journal of Medicine 339: 1194-2000.

Schnohr Peter, J.S. Jensen, H. Scharling, and B.G. Nordestgaard BG. 2002. Coronary heart disease risk factors ranked by importance for the individual and community. A 21 year follow up of 12,000 men and women from the Copenhagen City Heart Study. European Heart Journal 23: 620-626.