Physical activity programme for the prevention of dementia

Brief summary

Period: 2010 – present
Project coordinator: Prof. Dr. Alfred Rütten

Project staff: Karim Abu-Omar, Andrea Wolff, Tobias Fleuren, Anna Streber


The GESTALT project (GEhen, Spielen und Tanzen Als Lebenslange Tätigkeiten) is about walking, playing and dancing as lifelong activities. It started in 2010 with a grant from the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Public Health and investigated the implementation of a physical activity intervention concept for the prevention of dementia in practice (GESTALT I). The target group for the intervention are women and men over the age of 60 who have risk factors for dementia (such as physical inactivity, overweight, social isolation) and have not yet been diagnosed with dementia.

Since autumn 2012, a second round of the GESTALT intervention (GESTALT II) has been carried out with the involvement of new participants. The focus was increasingly on the target group of socially disadvantaged, physically inactive and socially isolated people. The adult education centre in Erlangen was responsible for the project.

The GESTALT offering and network in Erlangen has been continued since June 2013 by the Sports Office of the City of Erlangen ( In addition, new courses are offered at regular intervals in various communities in the district of Erlangen-Höchstadt, which are supervised by the District Office Erlangen-Höchstadt (

The project GESTALT-kompakt started in May 2014. The aim was to adapt the original 6-month GESTALT physical activity programme, which had been developed according to evidence criteria, to the requirements of the GKV (statutory health insurer) guidelines and to develop a 12-week “compact” version of GESTALT. The essential core elements as well as the core goal of GESTALT – connection to effective physical activity forms for the prevention of dementia – were preserved. The project was supported by the Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care within the framework of the Health Initiative Gesund.Leben.Bayern (Healthy Living Bavaria).

Starting in March 2017, a cooperation between BARMER and GESTALT was launched with the aim of testing ways of transferring GESTALT projects to other municipalities (scaling-up) against the background of the Prevention Act (Präventionsgesetz). Initially, GESTALT projects are to be set up at two new locations (Beckum and Neustadt a.d. Aisch/Bad Windsheim) by means of cooperative planning, which will implement the GESTALT programme at local executing agencies. In particular, structures are to be developed in the municipalities: to attract senior citizens who are difficult to reach (e.g. setting up a multiplier network), to continue the GESTALT groups (sustainable retention of the improved exercise behaviour of the participants through follow-up offers) and to anchor the coordination of the programmes in the local structures to attract new participants.

Information on the subprojects and the GESTALT physical activity programme (walking, playing and dancing as lifelong activities) for promoting physical activity among senior citizens can be found on the corresponding subpages.


GESTALT was nominated for the prize of the International Lake Constance Conference 2013 for “Health Promotion and Prevention” and for the special prize “Health Promotion and Prevention in Old Age”.

In 2013, GESTALT was awarded 2nd place in the 12th Bavarian Health Promotion and Prevention Prize by the Bavarian Centre for Prevention and Health Promotion (ZPG).

In 2013, the GESTALT project was awarded the Erlangen Medical Prize in the category “Health Promotion and Prevention”.

Publications about GESTALT

  • Streber, A., Wolff, A. & Rütten, A. (2015). Gewinnung von körperlich inaktiven und sozial benachteiligten Personen (60+) für die Teilnahme an einem evidenzbasierten Bewegungsprogramm zur Prävention von Demenz. Bewegungstherapie und Gesundheitssport, 31: 150-155.
  • Rütten, A., Wolff, A. & Streber, A. (2015). Nachhaltige Implementierung evidenzbasierter Programme in der Gesundheitsförderung. Theoretischer Bezugsrahmen und ein Konzept zum interaktiven Wissenstransfer. Das Gesundheitswesen. 10.1055/s-0035-1548883
  • Rütten, A., Wolff, A., & Streber, A. (2015). Interaktiver Wissenstransfer in der Gesundheitsförderung: das GESTALT-Projekt. Erste Ergebnisse der Erprobung eines Ansatzes zur nachhaltigen Implementierung evidenzbasierter Bewegungsprogramme in der Praxis. Das Gesundheitswesen. 10.1055/s-0035-1548882
  • Streber, A., Abu-Omar, K., Wolff, A. & Rütten, A. (2014). Bewegung zur Prävention von Demenz. Ergebnisse der evidenzbasierten Bewegungsintervention – GESTALT. Prävention und Gesundheitsförderung,9: 92-98.
  • Majzik, Z., Wolff, A., Streber, A. & Rütten, A. (2013). GESTALT – Bewegung gegen Demenz. “Gehen, Spielen, Tanzen Als Lebenslange Tätigkeiten” – Ein Programm für Seniorinnen und Senioren in Erlangen. In Bayerischer Gesundheitsförderungs- und Präventionspreis 2013 (Band 1 der Schriftenreihe des Bayerischen Zentrum für Prävention und Gesundheitsförderung, 20-24). Nuremberg.
  • Rütten, A., Abu-Omar, K., Niedermeier, M., & Schuster, M. (2011). Dementia Prevention by Physical Activity – Evidence and Outline of an Intervention Programme.pdf. In O. Dibelius & W. Maier (Eds.), Versorgungsforschung für demenziell erkrankte Menschen (pp. 82–92).
  • Rütten, A., Abu-Omar, K., Niedermeier, M., Schuster, M., Bracher, B., Gelius, P., & Wiltfang, J. (2009). GESTALT – ein bewegungstherapeutisches Interventionskonzept gegen die Alzheimerkrankheit. Bewegungstherapie und Gesundheitssport, 25, 254–261.

Report on Gestalt

In January 2017, GESTALT was the topic of a report by You can have a look at the excerpt about GESTALT here:


The following film from July 2013 gives you an insight into the GESTALT project: