The Tromsø Study

The Tromsø Study was initiated in 1974 in an attempt to help combat the high mortality due to cardiovascular diseases in Norway. This mostly affected men. In the mid-1970s, one in every five Norwegian men died of myocardial infarction before the age of 75, while the situation in Northern Norway was even worse.

The primary aim of the Tromsø Study was to determine the reasons for the high mortality of cardiovascular disease, and also to develop ways of preventing heart attacks and strokes. The study was gradually expanded to include many other diseases, such as rheumatism, neurological  and mental diseases, skin diseases, stomach and bowel-related diseases, cancer and osteoporosis. The health study has been repeated at regular intervals and involves a large proportion of the municipality's population.

Study year

Study's name

Number of participants

Age group


Tromsø 1

6595 men



Tromsø 2

16621 men and women



Tromsø 3

21826 men and women



Tromsø 4

27158 men and women



Tromsø 5

8130 men and women


2007-8 Tromsø 6 12984 men and women 30-87
2015-16 Tromsø 7  21 083 men and women 40+

In all, a total of 45 473 different people have participated in at least one of the seven studies, while 18 510 have participated on three or more occasions. 737 men have attended seven times, and 1236 women have attended six times. The more detailed description of the design of The Tromsø Study is given in a Cohort Profile paper. The sixth survey (Tromsø 6) has been described in more detail.

Combined health study and research

Each of the studies has combined a health study with research and all residents in the chosen age groups have been invited to participate. The largest study was carried out in 1994-95. On this occasion, all Tromsø residents born prior to 1970 (25 years of age or older in 1994) were invited to participate. In the fifth Tromsø Study, all Tromsø residents in five selected age groups were invited to participate. However, most of those invited to participate in this study had undergone a thorough study, including ultrasound and the measuring of bone mineral density, in Tromsø 4 (second visit).

How to apply for data access

The six completed studies have all provided the starting point for smaller, but more thorough, studies of some of the participants. The studies have also been the basis for clinical research, often in collaboration with staff at the Department of Clinical Medicine, the University of Tromsø and the University Hospital of Northern Norway.

Major Collaborative Project

The studies have been carried out by the Department of Community Medicine (ISM) in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, the University Hospital of Northern Norway (UNN) and Tromsø City Council. Data from the Tromsø Study is included in several international collaborative projects and also forms part of a larger Norwegian collaborative study between several Norwegian community studies (CONOR, COhort of NORway) and in the FUGE (Functional Genomics) technology platform to make possible larger prospective studies.


The Tromsø Study has provided considerable information on what influences the risk of contracting common, but serious, diseases. Data from The Tromsø Study has been used in approximately 146 PhD theses and in approximately 830 scientific articles published in scientific journals in the period 1974-2019. 

List of publications

Some of the findings from The Tromsø Study are described here.

Learn how to refer to The Tromsø Study in articles, here


Details about consent to participate in the study or to withdraw your consent