How did the study come about?
Although in the past century mortality in West Germany decreased similarly as in other Western nations, these changes were less pronounced in East Germany. After German reunification in 1990, there was a lack of scientifically valid data from East Germany to explain the regional differences in life expectancy and, consequently, a need for population-based research in northeast Germany.
Previous population-based studies focused mainly on specific diseases. Comparatively narrow examination programmes with time-consuming assessments may lead to a poor response. A design is needed that combines a high response with a broad and time-consuming spectrum of different health examinations. One approach might be a cohort design that includes moderately time-consuming health examinations in a first wave and, after compliance has been established, offers more time-demanding examinations in future waves. An alternative approach could be to first establish a population-based study with moderate demands on participating subjects, followed by a second cohort study in the same region with a more comprehensive examination programme. In an effort to combine the potential advantages of both approaches we are currently pursuing a dual strategy with two substudies of the population-based project Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP).
Henry Völzke, Dietrich Alte, Carsten Oliver Schmidt, Dörte Radke, Roberto Lorbeer, Nele Friedrich, Nicole Aumann, Katharina Lau, Michael Piontek, Gabriele Born, Christoph Havemann, Till Ittermann, Sabine Schipf, Robin Haring, Sebastian E Baumeister, Henri Wallaschofski, Matthias Nauck, Stephanie Frick, Andreas Arnold, Michael Jünger, Julia Mayerle, Matthias Kraft, Markus M Lerch, Marcus Dörr, Thorsten Reffelmann, Klaus Empen, Stephan B Felix, Anne Obst, Beate Koch, Sven Gläser, Ralf Ewert, Ingo Fietze, Thomas Penzel, Martina Dören, Wolfgang Rathmann, Johannes Haerting, Mario Hannemann, Jürgen Röpcke, Ulf Schminke, Clemens Jürgens, Frank Tost, Rainer Rettig, Jan A Kors, Saskia Ungerer, Katrin Hegenscheid, Jens-Peter Kühn, Julia Kühn, Norbert Hosten, Ralf Puls, Jörg Henke, Oliver Gloger, Alexander Teumer, Georg Homuth, Uwe Völker, Christian Schwahn, Birte Holtfreter, Ines Polzer, Thomas Kohlmann, Hans J Grabe, Dieter Rosskopf, Heyo K Kroemer, Thomas Kocher, Reiner Biffar, Ulrich John, and Wolfgang Hoffmann