Finnish Health in Teens Study
Fin-HIT – the Finnish Health in Teens – Study is a prospective cohort study including 11 400 Finnish adolescents (9–12 years of age at enrolment) and approximately 10 000 parents. Fin-HIT studies prevalence, risk and protective factors associated with weight status.
Fin-HIT was initiated to follow up weight development from early adolescence to adulthood. Our objective is to study how lifestyle, mental health, family, and microbial, genetic and epigenetic factors interact with the development of weight and health outcomes over time. One of our main topics is to determine if the saliva microbiome is associated with weight status and if so, can it be used for early detection of adolescents at risk of developing overweight and obesity. This has led us to explore the associations between microbiome and lifestyle factors, such as eating habits, antibiotics use and digital use, in order to deepen our knowledge on factors possibly shaping the saliva microbiome.
Baseline data collection was conducted during 2011-2014, mainly in schools by trained fieldworkers. Geographically, a large part of Finland is represented, focusing on densely populated areas. Children answered a questionnaire including questions on e.g. diet, physical activity, body image, sleep and screen time, had their weight, height and waist measured, and provided a saliva sample. The parents answered a web questionnaire.
The first active follow-up with both adolescents and parents was carried out during 2015–2016. The follow-up data consists of self-reported questionnaire, measurement data, and saliva samples from both children and parents. A follow-up allows us to study changes in weight and health, and related associations with microbial and epigenetic changes over time. A second follow-up with a web questionnaire has started in the autumn of 2020. The focus is on nutrition and mental health of the now young adult participants.
The collected research data have been linked to national health registers, which provides us comprehensive health profiles of the participants. The registers are maintained by the Digital and Population Data Services Agency, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela), the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and Statistics Finland. The saliva samples with selected research data are planned to be stored in the THL Biobank.
Heli Viljakainen, PhD, Docent, Group Leader
Nitin Agrawal, PhD
Sohvi Lommi, PhD
Laura Räisänen, PhD
Catharina Sarkkola, MSc
Kris Elomaa, MSc, data manager
Räisänen L, Kääriäinen S, Sund R, Engberg E, Viljakainen H, Kolho K-L. Antibiotic exposures and the development of pediatric autoimmune diseases: a register-based case–control study. Pediatr Res 2022, 19 July.
Lommi S, Manzoor M, Engberg E, Agrawal N, Lakka TA, Leinonen J, Kolho K-L, Viljakainen H. The Composition and Functional Capacities of Saliva Microbiota Differ Between Children With Low and High Sweet Treat Consumption. Front. Nutr. 2022, 25 April.
Engberg E, Hietajärvi L, Maksniemi E, Lahti J, Lonka K, Salmela-Aro K, Viljakainen H. The longitudinal associations between mental health indicators and digital media use and physical activity during adolescence: A latent class approach. Ment. Health Phys. Act. 2022, 22.
Lommi S, Engberg E, Tuorila H, Kolho K-L, Viljakainen H. Sex- and weight-specific changes in the frequency of sweet treat consumption during early adolescence: a longitudinal study. Brit J Nutr 2021, Mar 31;1-21.
Raju S, Viljakainen H, Figueiredo RAO, Neuvonen PJ, Eriksson JG, Weiderpass E, Rounge TB. Antimicrobial drug use in the first decade of life influences saliva microbiota diversity and composition. Microbiome 8, 121 (2020).
Viljakainen H, Dahlström E, Figueiredo R, Sandholm N, Rounge TB, Weiderpass E. Genetic risk score predicts risk for overweight and obesity in Finnish preadolescents. Clinical Obesity 2019;e12342.
Figueiredo RAO, Simola-Ström S, Isomaa R, Weiderpass E. Body dissatisfaction and disordered eating symptoms in Finnish preadolescents. Eating Disorders. Jul 24:1-18.
Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland, Helsinki
Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)
CRIG group, Ghent University, Belgium
University of Helsinki, Children’s Hospital
Panic Study, University of Eastern Finland
Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital
Laboratory of Probiogenomics, Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, University of Parma, Italy
Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Valencia, Spain
Folkhälsan Research Foundation
Academy of Finland
Medicinska Understödsföreningen Liv och Hälsa (“Life and Health Medical Fund”)
Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation
The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland
Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation
Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation
Juho Vainio Foundation
Waldemar von Frenckells stiftelse
Finnish Cultural Foundation
Minerva Foundation Institute for Medical Research