Researchers in Europe have recently launched a new study called DO-HEALTH that will examine strategies to promote healthy aging.
On Friday, the New York Daily News highlighted the study, which was launched on Feb. 3 and will be led by the University of Zurich.
Researchers hope to find "effective prevention" in order to reduce the economic and social repercussions of age-related illnesses and diseases. In May researchers plan to begin to recruit seniors interested in participating in the survey. The scientists' goal is to enlist 2,000 people aged 70 and over, from five European countries.
According to the press release, "In Europe, the number of seniors aged 70 and over will increase by 40% in the next 20 years, while those aged 80 and over will more than double. Health authorities and the medical community expect a corresponding increase in the number of people suffering costly and debilitating age-related chronic diseases such as osteoporosis, arthritis, heart and lung diseases and dementia."
The international study has been described as the largest healthy aging study of its kind, and will specifically look to assess if intake of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, combined with a simple exercise program, can help prevent chronic diseases.
Swiss researchers plan to outline how these "three simple preventive interventions" can reduce the number of chronic health issues typically associated with age. Scientists theorize if this regimen is followed, chronic diseases that occur with age can decrease the risk of onset. Researchers hope to find if people use this trio of "affordable" and "safe" strategies, it will reduce the risks of illnesses.
"Various studies have shown that vitamin D and simple targeted exercise programmes can significantly improve functional mobility and reduce falls and fractures in seniors, even by up to 30%. As well Omega 3 provides significant health benefits to seniors," Professor Heike Bischoff-Ferrari said, "DO-HEALTH hopes to provide definitive evidence that the three interventions, alone or combined, are able to reduce the number of fractures, the functional and cognitive decline, the risk of hypertension and the risk of infections in the senior population".
Bischoff-Ferrari is the Director of the Centre on Aging and Mobility of Zurich University and DO-HEALTH Principal Investigator. He is also listed as a visiting scientist at Tufts University, and his overall research focus has been comprised of in-depth study associated with both Vitamin D and health issues associated with aging.
Bischoff-Ferrari and colleagues say they expect to "provide solid evidence" that vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, combined with simple home exercises, will help promote long-term health and reduce the emergence of debilitating diseases. The study is being funded by a combination of funds from the European Commission and private sponsors. The results of these findings could be significant if a means to reduce, or eliminate, the uncomfortable and costly effects of diseases generally associated with aging is found to be both safe and effective.