The Framingham Heart Study is a long term prospective study of the etiology (subtype) of cardiovascular disease among a population of free living subjects in the community of Framingham Massachusetts. The Framingham Heart Study was a landmark study in epidemiology in that it was the first prospective study of cardiovascular disease and identified the concept of risk factors and their joint effects.

For this specific study, a dataset of 4240 observations and 16 different variables was used. The dataset is The study included 5,209 patients, aged 30 to 59. Patients were given a questionnaire and an examination every two years. During this examination, their physical characteristics were recorded, their behavioral characteristics, as well as test results. Exams and questions expanded over time, but the key in the study was that the trajectory of the health of the patients was followed during their entire lifespan.

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In this class, we will build models using the Framingham data to predict and prevent heart disease. This data set includes several demographic risk factors– the sex of the patient, male or female; the age of the patient in years; the education level coded as either 1 for some high school, 2 for a high school diploma or GED, 3 for some college or vocational school, and 4 for a college degree. The data set also includes behavioral risk factors associated with smoking– whether or not the patient is a current smoker and the number of cigarettes that the person smoked on average in one day. While it is now widely known that smoking increases the risk of heart disease, the idea of smoking being bad for you was a novel idea in the 1940s. Medical history risk factors were also included. These were whether or not the patient was on blood pressure medication, whether or not the patient had previously had a stroke, whether or not the patient was hypertensive, and whether or not the patient had diabetes. Lastly, the data set includes risk factors from the first physical examination of the patient.

The total cholesterol level, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, Body Mass Index, or BMI, heart rate, and blood glucose level of the patient were measured.


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