PANGeA - Physical Activity and Nutrition for Quality Ageing


The population older than 65 years in the border regions between Slovenia and Italy is relatively high (18-20%). This is a diverse population including many motor/sports active persons, so that a 75-year-old person of today can be compared with a 55-year-old 30 years ago, on the other hand, there are also many individuals suffering from chronic diseases and weak muscular and skeletal system, for which we could also say that have aged too soon. Research has many times proved a strong impact of lifestyle on the process and consequences of ageing, whereas, the criteria of healthy ageing have not been defined yet. The global problem of ageing and the challenges of searching for healthy ageing criteria, which will enable individuals to lead quality life and be independent in their old age, have become one of the most significant problems of the modern society. Thus, the European Commission has proclaimed the year 2012 as the Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.

A few years before the EU had decided to dedicate such an extent of attention to this issue, the Institute of Kinesiology Research of the Science and Research Centre of the University of Primorska decided to explore and study the ageing criteria together with local and foreign partners and offer the society all levers in order to be able to cope with this issue based on specific findings and knowledge. Numerous scientific findings prove the exceptional efficiency of motor activities and healthy nutrition in reducing health risks and enhancing the independence of living of the older population. Appropriate information and notifying the public, which involves the cooperation of different organisations, can positively influence the quality of life of the older population. The Cross-border Cooperation Slovenia – Italy 2007-2013 Programme – PANGeA unites public institutions from participating regions that are active in the field of assuring the quality of living of the older population, institutes, universities, hospitals, municipalities and the Health Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia. Promotion, education programmes and direct physical activities will enable us to apply the knowledge on lifestyle that improves the quality of living, in practice for target groups of older citizens. We shall use the network of existing health care (hospitals), social (elderly homes) and private (fitness centres) entities, which are mainly operating in the fields of activities, which are the subject of this project. Fitness programmes for the elderly and healthy nutrition measures, which we will apply, will contribute to improved general health condition, reduce the risks of acute injuries and chronic diseases. On the other hand, we shall study the effects of permanent inactivity and develop programmes for a more efficient/faster regeneration of motor functions, and the independence after hip surgeries, which have become one of the most occurring problems that the elderly are coping with.

Project activities will strive to exceed the low coordination level between health care and other public institutions. Prior to providing information to the public, project partners will study the situation of the older population in the project area, and by interpreting the characteristics of healthy and active elderly people they will try to define the criteria of healthy ageing. The activities involving the accumulation of normative values and the implementation of intervention programmes, which will be implemented within the scope of the project, will base on organisational, promotional, science-research and subject-related integration of all project partners and other stakeholders. In this way we will establish a permanent organisation network (universities-hospitals, universities-municipalities-elderly homes, universities-private persons-pensioners’ organisations etc.), which will enable further development of the health and quality of living of the population, living in the cross-border area.

General objectives of the project • Defining healthy ageing factors; • Setting up content-related and HR bases of the international excellence centre (SLO-ITA) in the field of health of elderly citizens; • Raising awareness on the significance of healthy ageing, social inclusion and mobility of less privileged populations (the elderly); • Reducing the costs of health care; • Connecting the existing health care, social and private entities and improving their mutual coordination.

The programme area includes institutes and universities that have achieved excellent results on an international level, namely in the field of medicine, space physiology, kinesiology, nutrition studies and health in general. It is well known that numerous fields of work can supplement each other when they are discussed jointly. Our work will base on merging border sciences, translating knowledge and technologies, which presents an efficient instrument, thus being the priority of numerous European programmes. We are well aware of the fact that health models, exercise and nutrition programmes are outdated, and, as the results of modern lifestyle studies show, also inefficient. Many experiences in research, the simulation of ageing (bed rest studies) and healthy ageing simulation (sportsmen – the elderly) have enabled us to acquire many findings that can be applied in health care centres, rehabilitation centres, elderly homes, fitness and wellness centres, sports clubs, and last but not least, for every individual. Despite this, the PANGeA project will need to answer some other scientific questions that refer to the impact of motor inactivity on the elderly and consequently on their health.

Applications that will be guaranteed by the general objectives, are as follows:

• Programmes for minimum and optimum motor/sports activity of the elderly;

• Defined efficient procedures of data collection on the health of different target population or populations with different pathological conditions;

• Renewed rehabilitation plans for faster recuperation after surgeries of acute and chronic injuries of the hip joint;

• Food programmes for hindering catabolic processes that occur with motor inactivity;

• Establishment of motor health parks for the elderly.

Operative objectives of the project

• Setup of a mobile health laboratory with measuring equipment and qualified measurers;

• Setup of a web portal (graphic interface, database, reporting and informing portal) about the health of inhabitants (in Slovene, Italian and English language);

• 1000 measurements of health factors of people from the entire programme area including simultaneous promotion campaigns;

• Adjustment and redefinition of health factors transferred from youngsters to the elderly by considering environmental factors;

• Organisation of 20 free training seminars for training fitness trainers for the elderly, 12 free demonstration meetings for fitness programmes for the elderly, performed at their homes, both equally distributed in all six regions;

• Organisation of six scientific meetings, intended for strengthening the project consortium.

Operative objectives are defined in accordance with achieving general project objectives. We will work in order to enhance the quality of living of inhabitants from the programme area, as well as on a more global level. Promoting and encouraging health, health monitoring, health care measures and preventive measures are the key mechanisms that will enable the programme region a coordinated development of health and social life. Less privileged groups present a large part of the entire population, which is increasing every year. Our preliminary local projects have resulted in many findings that will acquire a new dimension, when we will be able to connect these findings via a consortium. The project has been drafted in the sense of setting up healthy ageing criteria, based on connecting interdisciplinary knowledge and the implementation of mass measurements on the elderly, thus enabling the basis for constructing a permanent network of institutions that will offer health care and rehabilitation services in order to stimulate the recovery period. Everything mentioned above can be transferred to the level of national policies, which could enable the increase of the quality of life of the elderly by synergising permanent networks (connections between hospitals and joint functional centres) on the entire programme area. The project also has a research focus, since joint criteria for healthy ageing will be set up by connecting universities and other public research institutions (University of Primorska, University of Trieste, University of Udine and the Ferrari University, as well as the Health Protection Institute of the Republic of Slovenia and Izola General Hospital) based on interdisciplinary and international knowledge. Furthermore, by introducing intervention programmes, we shall contribute to enhancing the quality of life of the elderly, whereas physical activity is the core mean of social integration.

Project details

 Scientific responsability: Angelina Passaro

 Funding source: CBC Programme Italy-Slovenia

Start date October 2011 - end date December 2014
Total cost: 1,175,067.52 €


  • ZRS - Science and Research Centre - University of Primorska, Slovenia
  • Mestna občina Koper / Comune città di Capodistria, Slovenia
  • Università degli studi di Trieste, Italy
  • Splošna bolnišnica Izola - Ospedale generale Isola, Slovenia
  • Mestna občina Kranj, Slovenia
  • Inštitut za varovanje zdravja RS, Slovenia
  • Dipartimento di Anatomia e Fisiologia - Università degli studi di Padova, Italy
  • Comune di Ferrara, Italy