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News                                       The Portugal News • 21 Jul 2018 11



      Portugal’s elderly among most unhealthy in Europe



      The Portuguese elderly population has low levels of health compared to other European countries, according to “the largest
      study” on aging in Europe, published this week by the University of Coimbra (UC).

             reliminary results  mental health.”       believes that “there is a
             from DO-HEALTH,    Over a three-year clinical  whole set of social
             the largest       trial, participants were  resources that have an
      PEuropean study on       asked to complete “three  effect on the health of the
      aging, looking for ways to  times a week a simple  elderly, ranging from the
      improve the health of    exercise plan at home and  value of pensions to the
      people aged over 70,     take daily vitamin D and/or  ease of access to health.
      conclude that “from an   omega 3 fatty acids and/or  There is also one factor
      initial clinical point of view,  a placebo,” to assess the  that I assume to be very
      51 percent of the elderly  effect of vitamin D, omega  important, which is level of
      are considered healthy in  3 and physical exercise on  education.”
      Switzerland; in Austria, 58  the cognitive and physical  According to the
      percent; Germany, 38     health of the elderly.  specialist, on a personal
      percent;France, 37        The data collected will  level, “there are some
      percent; and in Portugal,  be “analysed in order to  worrying signs in Portugal
      only 9 percent,” said the  determine the effects of  from the point of view of
      UC, in a statement sent to  these three interventions  the health service.”
      Lusa News Agency on      on five main areas:       The quality of the
      Monday.                  fracture risk, lower limb  National Health Service,
        Overall, 42 percent of the  muscle function, cognitive  which is internationally
      2,157 study participants  function, blood pressure  recognised, “is excellent
      were “considered to be   and infection rate,” so that  compared to the cost it
      healthy seniors,”        the information obtained  has,” said Pereira da Silva.
      according to the same    makes it possible to      “For the poorest people,
      survey, which involved   design, “strategies that  and many of our seniors
      more than 50 researchers  enable older people to live  are in this group, this
      from seven university    a more active and healthy  movement [towards
      centres in Germany,      life,” explained Pereira da  private healthcare] is
      Austria, France, Portugal  Silva.                pernicious, because most
      and Switzerland.          In terms of Portugal   of these people cannot   Portugal’s senior citizens have been found to be among the most unhealthy in Europe,
                                                                                Portugal’s senior citizens have been found to be among the most unhealthy in Europe,
                                                                                Portugal’s senior citizens have been found to be among the most unhealthy in Europe,
                                                                                Portugal’s senior citizens have been found to be among the most unhealthy in Europe,
                                                                                Portugal’s senior citizens have been found to be among the most unhealthy in Europe,
      Portuguese participation  having lower levels of  afford private healthcare,”  according to new research. (Photo: Lusa/Miguel A.Lopes).
                                                                                according to new research. (Photo: Lusa/Miguel A.Lopes).
                                                                                according to new research. (Photo: Lusa/Miguel A.Lopes).
                                                                                according to new research. (Photo: Lusa/Miguel A.Lopes).
                                                                                according to new research. (Photo: Lusa/Miguel A.Lopes).
      involved a group of      health than those       he said.
      researchers from the     observed in the other six  For the implementation  doctors, two          followed 301 elderly    annual consultations and
      University Clinic of     participating centres, the  of DO-HEALTH in      physiotherapists and a  people from the region of  nine quarterly telephone
      Rheumatology of the      faculty member and      Portugal, a dedicated    pharmacist, recruited and  Coimbra, who had three  contacts.                 TPN/Lusa
      Faculty of Medicine of the  researcher of FMUC,  centre was created at
      University of Coimbra    quoted by UC, said these  FMUC, which involved
      (FMUC), led by José      results are not “surprising,  funding by the UC of
      António Pereira da Silva.  but worrisome.”       €200,000, representing in
        Researchers from the    “We have the least     total, with the contribution
      project, which started in  healthy elderly at all levels,  of the European Union, a
      2012 and is coordinated  cognitive and physical. It is  budget of more than
      by Heike Bischoff-Ferrari,  undoubtedly a relevant  €800,000, according to the
      a professor at the       public health problem,” he  statement, adding that the
      University of Zurich,    noted.                  overall total for DO-
      consider “healthy seniors  Regarding possible    HEALTH was €17.6
      to be seniors who do not  causes, although they  million.
      have chronic diseases and  have yet to be assessed in  The UC team, consisting
      have good physical and   the study, Pereira da Silva  of three nurses, four
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