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Scand J Public Health. 2010 Jul;38(5):481-8. doi: 10.1177/1403494810370235. Epub 2010 May 28.

Anticipated longevity among lay people screened for cardiovascular risk factors: a cross-sectional questionnaire study.

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Research Unit for General Practice, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.



In terms of mental health and quality of life previous studies have largely failed to show long-term effects of cardiovascular risk information. Such information may still have an impact of a more subtle nature. We aimed to explore the potential impact of cardiovascular risk information on lay people's anticipations of their own longevity.


In 2002 11,284 Norwegians were invited to take part in a health survey. Participants (n = 6,845) received comprehensive written information about their personal risk factors for cardiovascular disease. About six months later we selected 752 high risk and 996 low risk individuals for a cross-sectional survey. Participants were mailed a questionnaire and informed about the life expectancy for women and men in Norway. Subsequently they were asked whether they expected to live longer, shorter than or approximately as long as the mean figures.


The response rate was 75% (n = 1,314). Whereas 210 respondents (16%) expected to live shorter than the mean, 198 (15%) expected to live longer. In a multivariate regression model high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) was associated with lower anticipated longevity (odds ratio 2.4, 95% confidence interval 1.7-3.3). Other predictors of low anticipation were use of lipid lowering drugs and a family history of heart attack before the age of 60. Higher age, male sex, better education and good self-reported health were associated with high anticipations.


A CVD risk label was only moderately associated with lay people's anticipated longevity. The majority expected to live as long as the mean, regardless of risk status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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