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Evergreen project


The purpose of this project is to describe changes in health and functioning among older people. Living conditions and life-style are studied as predictors health, functioning need of care and mortality. This multidisciplinary study includes several prospective arms. In 1988 a random sample of people aged 65-84 years were interviewed in their homes. Follow up interviews for them were conducted in 1996 and 2004. During the same years 65-69 year old people were interviewed to capture cohort changes in aging.  In 1989 all men born before 1924 and every other woman living in nursing home were interviewed. In 1989 all 75-year-old and 1990 all 80-year-old residents of Jyväskylä were studied in the laboratory with extensive functional testing and clinical examinations. The 75-year-old people were followed up after 5, 10 and 15 years and the 80-year-olds after 5 and 10 years. In addition, register-based data on hospital and long-term care is being updated until the entire cohort becomes extinct. Altogether, 2500 have participated in these studies. The Evergreen project data is included in the Nordic Comparative and Longitudinal Study of 75/80-year Olds (NORA). Thirteen doctoral dissertations have been based on this study.


The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, The Ministry of Education, Academy of Finland, City of Jyväskylä, The Association of Finnish Lions Clubs, University of Jyväskylä

Research group

Principal investigators

Professor Taina Rantanen  taina.rantanen[at], Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä

Professor Sarianna Sipilä  sarianna.sipila[at], Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä

Emeritus Prof. Eino Heikkinen, Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä

Doctoral student

Katja Pynnönen, katja.pynnonen[at], Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä Title of the dissertation: Social activity and health in old age

Doctoral thesis

Selected publications

Rantanen T, Era P, Heikkinen E. Physical activity and the changes in maximal isometric strength in men and women from the age of 75 to 80 years. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1997: 45(12): 1439-1445.

Hirvensalo M, Rantanen T, Heikkinen, E. Mobility difficulties and physical activity as predictors of mortality and loss of independence in the community-living older population. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2000: 48(5):493-498.

von Bonsdorff MB, Rantanen T, Leinonen R, Kujala UM, Törmäkangas T, Mänty M, Heikkinen E. Physical activity history and end-of-life hospital and long-term care. Journal of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2009;64:778-784.


Departments of Psychology, Education and Social Science and Philosophy at the University of Jyväskylä

City of Jyväskylä

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