This study is part of a collaborative study entitled "Life-style and health" which is being conducted in Finland, India and Tanzania, using the same methods. The aim of the study is to describe health habits (smoking, alcohol consumption, use of medical drugs, exposure to sugars and hygiene habits) in Viekij?rvi, a village in eastern Finland. Of the villagers 50% of those aged 20 years and over were randomly selected to take part in the study. Of these, 72% (n = 179) returned the standard questionnaire they had been sent. Smoking was as common among men in Viekij?rvi as in Finland in general, but less common among women. Alcohol consumption reflected the national consumption. The use of medical drugs was high: 45% of respondents used such preparations daily. The most common exposure to sugar on a daily basis was sugar-sweetened coffee. Most people in Viekij?rvi (89%) brushed their teeth at least once a day. A strong positive correlation was found between frequencies of toothbrushing and handwashing mirroring unidimensional hygienic behaviour. The results of this study will form a basis for a health promotion programme, to be developed by the villagers themselves.