What is DO-HEALTH?

As the European population is aging rapidly, health at older age has become a central concern: 1) to the individual who wants to stay active and independent at older age, 2) to the society who will increasingly depend on the productivity of the senior population, and 3) to health care providers who are challenged by the marked increase in age-related chronic diseases.

To address this concern, effective, affordable, and well-tolerated strategies that prevent or delay chronic disease at older age and prolong healthy life expectancy are urgently needed. These strategies, if proven effective, will have an outstanding impact at the individual, economic, and public health level. Among the most promising strategies that meet these requirements are vitamin D, marine omega-3 fatty acids and physical exercise. However, their individual and combined effects have yet to be confirmed in a large clinical trial.

DO-HEALTH will close this knowledge gap in a large multicenter clinical trial that will define the role of vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and a simple home exercise program in extending healthy life expectancy and improving quality of life in European seniors.

DO-HEALTH is a clinical trial designed to:

– support healthy aging in European seniors

– establish whether vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and a simple home exercise program will prevent disease at older age and thereby prolong healthy life expectancy

Current status

DO-HEALTH has recruited more than 2,000 seniors age 70+ in five European countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, and Portugal to test the effectiveness of using vitamin D, omega-3 and a simple home exercise program in the extension of healthy life expectancy at older age. With the number of adults age 70 and older predicted to increase from 25 to 40 % by 2030, keeping seniors healthier for longer is a public health priority. Specifically, DO-HEALTH tests the individual and combined effect of the three interventions in a 2x2x2 factorial trial design on the prevention of fractures, functional and cognitive decline, blood pressure increase, and rate of infections. Key secondary outcomes include decreasing the risk of hip fracture, rate of falls, joint pain due to symptomatic osteoarthritis, sarcopenia, and frailty. Other intended benefits are: improving oral and gastro-intestinal health, mental health, overall quality of life and the reduction of all-cause mortality.

DO-HEALTH is unique to date, defines the most comprehensively assessed and largest cohort of community-dwelling seniors in Europe.

DO-HEALTH is coordinated by the University of Zurich (coordinator and PI is Prof. Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, MD, DrPH) and is funded within the Framework 7 Research Program of the European Commission.

European Commission DO-HEALTH Page

DO-HEALTH Project Website