The only part of the entire province to remain Finnish after the Soviet occupation in the Second World War, North Karelia was the least healthy region of a desperately sick country.
In 1972, it became the focus of what was to become the country's path to recovery.
According to sports and health experts, it is one of only two countries to have halted the downward spiral towards terminal couch potatoism, or sedentary inactivity to use the official parlance.
Now Finland has a healthy industry producing all manner of berries, from redcurrants to blackberries.
In time, the Finnish authorities succeeded in forcing down salt intake, a crucial move for cutting blood pressure, and blood cholesterol has fallen along with fat intake and smoking.
Having come so far, Finland now finds itself in the spotlight from health officials across the world who are desperate to find out what it was the Finns got so right.
The story begins in the sparsely populated frontier region of North Karelia in eastern Finland.