Understanding the Role of Contrasting Urban Contexts in Healthy Aging: An International Study of Daily Mobility and Active Living Using Wearable Sensor Devices across Cohorts


CALL: 2012

DOMAIN: SR - Environmental and Earth Sciences

FIRST NAME: Philippe






START: 2013-05-01

END: 2016-04-30

WEBSITE: https://www.liser.lu/

Submitted Abstract

The aim of ERA-AGE 2 is to enlarge the consortium to a critical mass and use this to mount Europe’s first ageing research programme supported principally by the Member States: the New European Dynamics of Ageing Programme (NEDA).ERA-AGE 2 comprises thirteen partners who are each public authorities responsible for the funding and coordination of national research programmes, and since 2009 has recruited six associate partners. The expansion of the consortium enables and maximises the sharing of experiences and build a critical mass of ageing research. The network is coordinated by the UK representative The New Dynamics of Ageing Programme and it is supported by a steering group of project partners.Project summaryBackground: Some components of healthy aging including physical activity, social participation or mobility have been linked to dimensions of the built environment, but a more profound understanding of the processes linking environments to health among older adults is still lacking. Given the challenges of aging populations and growing urbanization in industrialized nations, calls have been issued for more sustainable urban (re-) development and implementation of local solutions to address global environmental and health problems. However, to date, few studies have considered older adults’ daily mobility in order to better understand how both individual social, cultural or financial resources and the presence of local environmental resources or hazards, transportation infrastructures and urban form, either contribute or are detrimental to healthy aging. Novel ubiquitous wearable sensors offer a means of gathering continuous information on people’s location, levels of physical activity, perceptions or feelings. Combining such sensor data with classical questionnaires on perceived environments and qualitative assessment of experience of places opens new opportunities to assess the complex interplay between individual and environmental structure of opportunities.Objective: In response to current gaps and novel analytical capabilities, the project will develop an international platform and research agenda to collect and analyse detailed data on daily mobility and health outcomes among older adults participating in two existing cohorts and one developing cohortin contrasted urban settings in Montreal, Paris and Luxembourg.Methods: The study will combine a multisensor device for collection of location (GPS) and physical activity (accelerometer), with questionnaires on perceived environments and well-being and qualitative assessment of experience of places. They will thereby collect detailed data and conduct advanced quantitative and qualitative analyses to disentangle the complex people-environment interactions that link urban local contexts to healthy aging.Expected results: The project will (i) generate evidence about how characteristics of urban environments relate to active mobility, social participation, and well-being, all of which are crucial dimensions of healthy aging, and (ii) contribute to the development of an international research platform on built environment and healthy aging.

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