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Physical Activity among Sedentary Older People (PASEO) Project Builds Policy Capacities for Health Promotion

By Joana Carvalho, Portugal

Faculty of Sports from Porto University is now leading the work package 2 in the Physical Activity among Sedentary Older People (PASEO) project.

Despite the large growth of programs developed to promote physical activity for older people, many projects are not sufficiently implemented. This project aims to improve the implementation of the programs, building the necessary policy capacities in 15 European nations represented by a scientific institution and a nongovernmental institution. The PASEO project, based on 10 work packages and a timeframe of 30 months (January 2009-July 2011), is coordinated by Professor Alfred Rutten from the Institute of Sport Science and Sport, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, and is co-funded by the European Commission, Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (EAHC).

In work package 1, each nation conducted an overview of existing capacities for the promotion of physical activity among sedentary older people. In Portugal, the conclusions demand for a higher investment/importance placed on the elderly physical activity as a way to improve health, as well as more interactions between the health, sports, social and communication sectors. This should elevate the potential health benefits of the activities and the number of people using the exercise programs.

Through work package 2, it is time to set up national or regional alliances, “a partnership between two or more parties that pursue a set of agreed-upon goals in health promotion,” to strengthen capacities focusing primarily on building intersectional structures and intra-organizational means for the promotion of physical activity among sedentary older people.

The next step is to develop and implement the actions through a cooperative planning process with the national alliances in each participating nation. Finally, as the mechanisms to strengthen capacity are intended to be sustained after the project has ended, the impact of the implementation of these actions on capacities will be monitored.

More information about the project can be found at or by e-mailing

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