Prevention and nutrition research

We all want to lead healthy, active and self-determined lives when we enter old age. Prevention and nutrition research tests useful ways in which every individual can actively prevent illnesses and thus remain healthy.

Staying healthy and active as we grow older – prevention research helps to improve the quality of life in our older years. © Thinkstock

Life expectancy in Germany continues to rise: A child born today will very probably live to celebrate their 85th birthday. Most people remain in good health for a great many years after an active working life. This is due to our generally high standard of living and access to good health care.

However, there are many factors which determine whether an individual will actually live well into old age while remaining healthy, active and independent. Genetic predisposition, the food we eat, lifestyle and the environment are all factors that influence the health of each and every individual.

If we can better understand the interactions between these factors then we can also recognize suitable possibilities for preventing the most common diseases. The number of people suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity or cardiovascular diseases is rising in all the industrialized nations. One way to tackle these diseases is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. What we know already is that nutrition and exercise are major factors.

Staying healthy through healthy living

However we need to know more about whether and how prevention works. It is for this reason that the Federal Research Ministry has expanded its funding activity to include a dedicated action plan for prevention and nutrition research. The focus of the “Prevention and Nutrition Research” action plan is on developing new approaches which are both quality-assured and aimed at specific target-groups. Suitable methods that can measure whether prevention activities are effective and useful are urgently required. Ultimately, it is a question of helping people to live more healthy lives on a lasting basis.