gms | German Medical Science

Physical activity and successful aging
10th International EGREPA Conference

European Group for Research into Elderly and Physical Activity

14.09. - 16.09.2006 in Köln

Use it or lose it. National campaigns, programs and projects to stimulate physical activities among senior citizens in the Netherlands

Meeting Abstract

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Physical activity and successful aging. Xth International EGREPA Conference. Cologne, 14.-16.09.2006. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2006. Doc06pasa022

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Published: December 18, 2006

© 2006 Schippers.
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The Dutch government emphasise the importance of staying healthy as long as possible. It is the number 1 priority in a recent policy note on ageing in the Netherlands because physical and mental health is a basic condition for social participation and a good quality of life. Health in older age starts with a healthy lifestyle when we are younger. Point of interest are a.o.: healthy nutrition, smoking and alcohol abuse in the population. Being overweight and lack of physical activity are major health risks for older people.

Physical fitness is an important determinant of health. According to the Nederlandse Norm Gezond Bewegen (NNGB: the Dutch Standard for Healthy Exercise) adults must engage in moderately intensive exercise for at least half an hour a day on at least 5 days a week. The NNGB standard was established in 1998 by the universities of Amsterdam (VU), Maastricht (UM), Groningen (RUG), Utrecht (UU), RIVM, TNO and NOC*NSF. This standard is based on international guidelines, focuses specifically on physical fitness (endurance, strength and coordination) and health maintenance.

The standard can be achieved not only through sport, but also through ‘activities of daily life’ such as walking, cycling, gardening and housework. A national campaign and national programs are laid out to combat poor activity habits in the population. The national policy is aimed at the entire population; senior citizens and frail older people are also target groups.

Research shows that in 2003 only 43% of the older people over 65 years of age is sufficiently active. More than 20% of this group is inactive seven days a week. The Dutch government started a national campaign FLASH (an acronym for Cycling, Walking, Action moments, Sports and Household activities) to combat this poor level of physical activity. This campaign is also aimed at older people living in residential homes and the chronically ill.

Alice Schippers, head of the Knowledge Centre on Ageing of the Netherlands Institute for Care and Welfare/NIZW, will give an overview of the objectives, methods, resluts and outcomes of different campaigns, programs and projects in the Netherlands to stimulate physical activities such as:

  • Meer Bewegen voor Ouderen (MBvO): More Exercise for Older people
  • Flash! campaign for the chronically ill
  • Groningen Active Living Model (GALM) that encourages older persons to become more active