Age-related diseases such as obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, stress and anxiety are associated with modifiable risk factors. These lifestyle-related risk factors, which include high calorie diets, physical inactivity, smoking and alcohol consumption, are related to disability and premature death globally, becoming major Public Health problems, negatively impacting the sustainability of health systems. Therefore, the promotion of healthy lifestyles and the early identification of high-risk individuals, associated with a modification of lifestyles, is associated with a decrease in morbidity and mortality, thus leading to healthy aging.
The Mediterranean diet has been recognized by UNESCO as a cultural heritage with scientific evidence associated with decreased incidence of cerebrovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Originally present in the Mediterranean basin, this diet is based on healthy lifestyles, including healthy eating habits, physical activity, and social eating habits. The benefits of the Mediterranean diet were first described on the island of Crete in Greece, but have been adopted by other countries including Portugal. The prevalence of fresh foods, including vegetables, fruits, grains, mushrooms, consumption of fish over red meat, consumption of unsaturated fats present in olive oil, have an anti-aging effect and offer protective nutrients to the cardiovascular system, leading to increased age and quality of life.
Adding the benefits of the Mediterranean diet to an urgent need for the adoption of healthy lifestyles by European citizens, we propose to combine Research and Innovation strategies and action plans to increase the impact of two Centers of Excellence in Southern Europe.
Cerebrovascular diseases (CVD) represent a major public health burden in Europe. By bringing together a multidisciplinary and cross-sector agenda, CHAngeing will transform and interconnect two quadruple helix- based excellence ecosystems located in southern Europe (Portugal and Greece). This will be accomplished by science-based interventions:
1) Promoting healthy lifestyles supported by Mediterranean diet culture to prevent CVD;
2) Improving health technology-based rehabilitation of stroke patients.
1) A high-quality implementation of work program, delivering maximum impact. A robust partnership program to leverage collaborative synergies between excellence hub in Coimbra and the excellence hub in Heraklion;
2) An operational framework with a high-quality action and investment plan, ensuring project implementation, efficiency and long-term sustainability.
3) A strategic R&I program of excellence between hubs in Coimbra and Heraklion;
4) A Program to train master´s and PhD students, aligned with the scientific scope of the proposal on ageing and healthy lifestyles, with strong educational elements of multidisciplinary research and innovation and entrepreneurship;
5) The excellence hub will strengthen linkages between science and business by mapping and following up with stakeholders acrooss the entire innovation lifecycle;
6) A toolkit and pilot to be implemented in Center Region of Portugal and Crete territories (urban and rural) and a demonstrator for efficient interventions to support post-stroke rehabilitation of cognitive and motor coordination capacities;
7) A communication, dissemination and exploitation program to atract new talents to both excellence hubs in synergy with other European programs, maximize outreach of CHAnging excellence hubs focusing on new talents, citizens engagement, funding agencies and business, policymakers and other relevant actorss.