EUNAAPA – European Network for Action on Ageing and Physical Activity

Lack of exercise is a big problem for seniors. Targeted promotion of physical activity can significantly improve the quality of life of older people. Promoting the health and independence of seniors through more exercise is the aim of the project, for which the Department of Sports Science and Sport (DSS) at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg has been awarded the contract by the Commission of the European Union.

Brief overview

Period: 2006-2007
Project manager: Prof. Dr. Alfred Rütten
Project staff: Dr. Karim Abu-Omar, Dr. Peter Gelius
Sponsor: EU Public Health Directorate


The general objective is to improve the health, well-being and independence of older people in Europe. To this end, a European Network for Action on Ageing and Physical Activity (EUNAAPA) will be established to promote evidence-based physical activity.


Concrete goals are

  • The establishment of a self-supporting network that enables the promotion of evidence-based physical activity.
  • The pursuit of an intersectoral approach to the promotion of physical activity.
  • Identifying evidence-based, cost effective and acceptable ways to promote physical activity.
  • To support European researchers in developing and implementing policies to promote evidence-based physical activity in Europe.

Management and EU funding

The establishment of the network and the execution of the first basic research tasks is promoted by this EU project. The project is led by Prof. Dr. Alfred Rütten from the Institute for Sports Science and Sport of the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg. The project is scheduled to run for two years. The funding runs from 1 August 2006 to 31 July 2008. The European Commission is supporting the 14 associated project partners with a total of € 700,000. The EUNAAPA network will be managed by a steering committee, which will remain in office for two years for the time being.


The role of the Institute of Sports Science and Sport

The Institute for Sports Science and Sport (ISS) of the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg is entrusted with the coordination of the EUNAAPA research project. Furthermore, the ISS is in charge of work package 6, the aim of which is to draw the attention of politicians and experts to programmes to promote physical activity among older people, to promote the implementation of these policies and to coordinate them with representatives of older people, and to advise those responsible on the implementation of corresponding policies.

Project partners

25 renowned institutions from 20 European nations take part in EUNAAPA. The network brings together experts from the fields of gerontology, medicine, health policy and sports science. The group of project partners is divided into “Associated Partners”, who are funded by the EU project, and “Collaborating Partners”, who participate in the EUNAAPA network at their own expense.


Associated partners:

  • Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
  • National Institute of Hygiene, Warsaw
  • Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • TNO Quality in Healthcare, Leiden
  • Edinburgh University
  • University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Project Coordinator)
  • University of Jyväskylä
  • University of Leuven
  • University of Nancy 1
  • University of Porto
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • University of Thrace
  • University of Verona
  • University of Vienna

Collaborating partners:

  • University of Olmuz
  • Directorate of Health and Social Affairs, Oslo
  • National Board of Health and Welfare, Stockholm
  • Oslo University College
  • Royal Free and Univ. College , London
  • VU University Medical Center , Amsterdam
  • HEPA Macedonia
  • Irish Osteoporosis Society
  • University of Extremadura
  • Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education
  • Semmelweis University, Budapest

Work packages


The EU-funded EUNAAPA research project is divided into seven “work packages” spread over the project period of two years. Each work package is assigned a “leading project partner” who is in charge. Four of the work packages are concerned with establishing the EUNAAPA network and ensuring its continued existence after the expiry of EU funding. Three work packages are designed to address the first important research questions in the field of physical activity of older people so that the network can work effectively.

  • Work Package 1: Project Coordination, Institute for Sports Science and Sport, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • Work Package 2: Dissemination of Results, University of Verona
  • Work package 3: Project evaluation, TNO Leiden
  • Work package 4: Measuring physical activity and bodily functions of older people, Karolinksa Institut Stockholm
  • Work Package 5: Identification of existing (support) programmes for physical activity of older people, University of Edinburgh
  • Work Package 6: Implementation and Dissemination of (Support) Programmes for Physical Activity of Older People, Institute for Sports Science and Sport, FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg
  • Work package 7: Securing the future of the EUNAAPA network, TNO Leiden

Conferences and publications

Three internal project meetings (in Erlangen, Oslo and Porto) will be held during the funding period to support project work. A large final public conference in Verona is also planned for 2008.

The results of each work package will either be summarised in technical reports or published in publications. Work package 2 will result in a website with different sections, which will contain both information for the public and a section for the project partners.

More information about EUNAAPA

Further information about EUNAAPA can be found on the EUNAAPA-Homepage