The purpose of this blog is to raise awareness of a new European funded research project awarded to Dr Catherine Norton at PESS / SAH UL, firstly to encourage participation from student researchers to engage in a large-scale project, but also to promote volunteer participation from adults local to the University of Limerick.
LifeAGE is an Erasmus+ Sport project that aims to improve the health and quality of life for adults and in particular older adults, through lifestyle interventions (nutrition and physical activity) with a particular emphasis on active ageing. This a European collaborative project with partnerships from Spain, Finland, Latvia, Italy and Ireland. Dr Catherine Norton is leading the LifeAGE research group at the University of Limerick, working with Dr Audrey Tierney and Prof Catherine Woods. The overall objective of the project is to assess the health consequences of sub-optimal nutrition and physical inactivity in aging populations, but more importantly to promote lifestyle interventions (nutrition and physical activity) as key tools for healthy and active ageing.
LifeAge aims to contribute to increasing social awareness of the need for appropriate nutrition and continuing physical activity as the basis of healthy lifestyle in older adults. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), not even a third of European adults report sufficient physical activity (Cavill, Kahlmeier, & Racioppi, 2006), and poor dietary habits exacerbate this problem. The LifeAge Project will foster synergy with, and between, local, regional, national and international policies to promote appropriate nutrition, sport and physical activity participation, in close relationship with the Active Ageing policy as defined by the European Commission. Older people make a significant and valued contribution to society and to the economy, but as their health and education levels improve over time, their participation and contributions can be enhanced, to the benefit of all.
The project is structured around three phases, in a period of three years (36 months). The main objective of Phase 1 is to investigate the effects of sub-optimal nutrition and sedentary lifestyle on physiological, functional and psychological parameters in adults (over 50 years of age). This will be achieved by means of standard questionnaires and face-to-face interviews conducted across the five partnership consortia to identify the habits of adults and their current health status. The fieldwork will involve comprehensive cognitive, physical, functional, anthropometric, dietary and sleep assessments, as well as quality of life measures. Informed by the results of Phase 1, Phase 2 will include the development of several strategies to teach older adults about the benefits of appropriate nutrition and physical activity, in order facilitate not only adding years to life, but also adding life to years. Among these innovative strategies will be smart phone applications with exercise prescription guides; educational comic books for children and young people on healthy, active ageing; an online educational platform; and promotional videos.
The final phase of the research will focus on dissemination activities will be transversally implemented throughout the project. This phase will include mass media, press conferences and social network activity as well as educational events held in each partner country.
Any student who may be interested in volunteering to be involved in the field-based data collection (Phase 1) is asked to contact Dr Catherine Norton for further information. It is envisaged that the fieldwork will be carried out in the months of May and June 2019. Certificates of participation through the Student Extracurricular Engagement (SEE) Programme will be provided. Students from BSc Sport & Exercise Sciences, BSc Physiotherapy, MSc Sports Performance or MSc Sports Psychology would be most likely to benefit from participation.
Any adults (individuals or organisations) who wish to participate in this research should also contact Catherine.
Dr Catherine Norton is a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Nutrition in the department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the University of Limerick. Catherine’s current research interests include optimising nutrition for athletic training and competition, with a particular emphasis on peri-training nutrition (PTN). You can contact Catherine via email at Catherine.Norton@ul.ie.