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The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), sponsored by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is a prospective epidemiologic study conducted in four U.S. communities. ARIC is designed to investigate the causes of atherosclerosis and its clinical outomes, and variation in cardiovascular risk factors, medical care and disease by race, gender, location, and date. To date, the ARIC project has published approximately 1077 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

ARIC includes two parts: the Cohort Component and the Community Surveillance Component. The Cohort Component began in 1987, and each ARIC field center randomly selected and recruited a cohort sample of approximately 4,000 individuals aged 45-64 from a defined population in their community. A total of 15,792 participants received an extensive examination, including medical, social, and demographic data. These participants were reexamined every three years with the first screen (baseline) occurring in 1987-89, the second in 1990-92, the third in 1993-95, and the fourth exam was in 1996-98. In 2009 the NHLBI funded a fifth exam, which is currently in the planning phase. Follow-up also occurs yearly by telephone to maintain contact and to assess health status of the cohort.

In the Community Surveillance Component these four communities are investigated to determine the community-wide occurrence of hospitalized myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease deaths in men and women aged 35-84 years. Hospitalized stroke is investigated in cohort participants only. Starting in 2006, the study conducts community surveillance of inpatient (ages 55 years and older) and outpatient heart failure (ages 65 years and older) for heart failure events.

This website is maintained for the ARIC participants, for health professionals, and the general public. The main website for the
ARIC study
is designed to serve the scientific community at large and the ARIC investigators.

Can it still help to become physically active for the first time late in life?
A. No, the benefits of physical activity are only seen earlier in life
B. No, the benefits only go to those who have been active for many years
C. Yes, the benefits can been seen at any age
D. Yes, the benefits can been seen later in life if one is still in good health