HEALTHY URBAN LIVING AND AGEING IN PLACE: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE IN BRAZILIAN CITIES (HULAP)

Lead Research Organisation: Queen's University of Belfast
Department Name: Sch of Natural and Built Environment

Abstract

Brazil has one of the most rapidly ageing populations in the world and non-communicable diseases are emerging as the main national public health priority. These include increasing levels of obesity and other conditions associated with a lack of PA. There is emerging evidence on the impact of increased PA on health, particularly amongst older adults, although this is not as well developed as for other demographic groups, despite them being the least active and most sedentary. It is also becoming clear that, set within a wider ecological model, the form of the built urban environment can influence levels of PA, suggesting that interventions in this area could provide a useful role in supporting long-term strategies for public health. There are very few studies on PA amongst older adults in Brazil, although there is some evidence that suggests it is associated with improved quality of life and health, irrespective of age, education and socio-economic status. Therefore, an enhanced understanding of PA behaviour of older adults in Brazil, the role of urban design in facilitating this and improved policy effectiveness will benefit the economic development and well-being in Brazil, through healthier ageing in place, reduction in future health burdens and enhanced institutional capacity.

The project integrates three themes highlighted in the call specification related to: Urban Design/Planning/Housing/Infrastructure; Health/Inequalities/Justice; and Leadership/Governance/Institutions.

This project will develop policy tools, partnerships and evidence for increasing PA levels of older adults in Brazilian cities, by bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of Brazilian/UK researchers drawn from public health, geography, planning and management studies, as well as a range of key stakeholders that are central to promoting this policy agenda in Brazil, the UK and Europe. We take a comparative Brazil-UK approach that builds on research previously funded by the ESRC, CAPES, CNPq and others. We aim to capture the PA of a sample of older adults in Curitiba (Brazil) and Belfast (UK) and measure a range of attributes of the built environment which may influence this. We will develop and test new methodologies and protocols for doing this, which will contribute to new methodological approaches of wider international relevance, including IPEN protocols and tools for rapidly evaluating the built environment for its walkability. We will investigate the associations between objective and perceived environmental measures with the physical functioning of older adults. We will also comparatively map the Brazil and UK institutional and governance contexts involved in ageing and walkable environments, evaluate the capacity of this to assimilate evidence and bring together examples of innovative practice. The project will result in a range of policy guidance and toolkits to enhance future policy approaches. Key project partners include Embarq (Brazil) and Belfast Healthy Cities (UK), who will coordinate input to the project's Impact Advisory Groups from a wider range of stakeholders involved in the healthy ageing arenas in Brazil and the UK. This will involve joint Brazil-UK impact workshops, will ensure that the project remains focused on delivering valuable societal impact and in turn will influence future approaches to research in this field to create a virtuous circle of research-implementation-feedback-research.

The project aims to deliver a wide range of bi-lingual outputs which will include: project website, video content and social media; peer-reviewed papers; presentations to local policy networks and conferences in Brazil and the UK; working papers and lay summaries, policy briefing papers; a revised protocol for capturing older adults PA data; a new knowledge translation self-assessment tool; revised tools for auditing the built environment and an Older-Adults Walkability Toolkit.

Planned Impact

This project is aimed at improving the levels of PA amongst older adults in Brazilian cities, which will have a key role in ensuring the country's rapidly ageing population remains healthier and more independent for longer; it will promote 'ageing in place'. It will contribute to the economic development and welfare of Brazil by promoting well-being through preventative and cost effective intervention in the built environment, potentially offsetting substantial future costs from health and social care services. It has been designed to maximise the impact of the research already undertaken by those involved and to specifically deliver policy-relative outcomes for older adults, a relatively marginalised group. The project builds on established partnerships and aims to create new international collaborations. Initial discussions with our partners have identified a wide range of impacts on policy, decision-making, capacity building and awareness raising in relation to enhancing understanding of and effectiveness of interventions related to older adults' PA and the built environment. The project will increase the effectiveness of interventions in the built environment to support healthy ageing and help target resources in a more efficient way. We have identified the key stakeholders in the project as being older adults in Curitiba and Belfast, along with their advocacy groups; city planning authorities and public health agencies, academic researchers and international networks, including WHO Healthy Cities. The impact strategy is built upon a strong record of engagement of the research team, who have extensive experience in such collaborative projects and in communicating with an array of government, business and civil society stakeholders in public health and spatial planning.

The impact derived from each of the work packages are described in Pathways to Impact, and this includes: spatial data on the walkability of the case study cities and how this relates to the needs of older adults, which is of value to public health and planning agencies; overall levels and patterns of PA behaviour in the case study cities, allowing the first effective evaluation of their needs, from which more effective strategies can be developed; development of international protocols for measuring PA in older adults allowing broader insights to be derived; measures of walkability for older adults linked to new policy tools that will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of policy development; a review of innovative practice in healthy ageing; an evaluation of the capacity of Brazil/UK institutions to deliver healthy ageing programmes; the development of a self-assessment tool for knowledge translation; and the creation of guidance and toolkits to promote responses to how best to address this important challenge. Combined, this package of work offers an effective response to this substantial long-term challenge, which could substantially be influenced by improved evidence and strategic intervention. Although this project is primarily focussed on opportunities for Brazil, global challenges of healthy ageing and increasing population-wide sedentary behaviour means that the project has significant potential to create impact at a range of different geographic scales and demographic groups.

Project impacts are maximised through a robust communication, dissemination and monitoring strategy. This will include strategic advice from an Impact Advisory Group in both Brazil and the UK. The project also includes proposals for a wide range of outputs aimed at maximising impact of the research, which include websites and social media, information sheets, audit tools, policy briefings and an Older Adults Walkability Toolkit.
 
Description PhD Studentship - Ruibing Kou
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Leeds 
Department China Scholarship Council
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 09/2019
 
Description PhD Studentship for Danielle MacCarthy
Amount £56,000 (GBP)
Organisation Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 01/2020
 
Title HULAP quantitative dataset (NI) 
Description The HULAP Study research team (Work Package 3) have collected survey, GPS and acceleometer data from 250 older adults in Northern Ireland. 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The data is currently being analysed and will be published a part of a series of working papers, policy briefings and academic peer-reviewed papers. 
 
Description GPS/spatial data analytics - University of Southern Denmark 
Organisation University of Southern Denmark
Department Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The HULAP Study team have successfully collected GIS, accelerometer and GIS data. The team provides expertise in GIS and accelerometer analytics.
Collaborator Contribution Expertise regarding GPS data integration and analysis.
Impact Integration of GPS, GIS and accelerometer data.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Active Living Research conference, Feb 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 30 participants took part in a workshop entitled "Methodological considerations in measuring physical activity and sedentary behaviour in older adults: Implications for accelerometry, GPS and GIS data". The workshop was facilitated by members of the HULAP study team who have specific expertise in GIS, accelerometry and GPS data techniques. The workshop focused on the particular methodological issues that must be considered when collecting and analysing these data for older adult populations. The workshop stimulated indepth discussion regarding methodological innovations required in the field.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.activelivingresearch.org/sunday-february-11-2018-agenda
 
Description Built environment, physical activity and sedentary behaviour in older adults: a systematic review 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A poster entitled "Built environment, physical activity and sedentary behaviour in older adults: a systematic review" has been accepted for presentation by Dr Claire Cleland at the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Conference 2017, Victoria Canada. This conference will be attended by international delegates including post graduate students, researchers, academics, policy makers, practitioners and industry representatives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description GPS workshop, Sept 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact 15 members of the HULAP Study research team participated in a workshop facilitated by Dr Jasper Schipperijn (University of Southern Denmark) who is an expert in GPS data. The workshop covered core methodological aspects regarding data collection, analytics and integration.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description HULAP Research Team visit to Heriot Watt Place Age research team to explore oppotunities for reserch collaboration 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact 20 researchers explored opportunities of synergy between two major ESRC projects, with potential future projects and conference events identified and planned.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Healthy Urban Living and Ageing in Place (HULAP): Physical activity, built environment and knowledge exchange in Brazilian cities 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A poster entitled "Healthy Urban Living and Ageing in Place (HULAP): Physical activity, built environment and knowledge exchange in Brazilian cities" was presented by Dr Claire Cleland at the HEPA Europe Conference 2016 at Queens University Belfast (28th-30th September). The international conference was attended by academics, researchers, postgraduate students, practitioners and policy makers. The presentation sparked an international interest in the project with requests for further information and the potential for future collaboration, local participation interests and an increased awareness of the study and future work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Healthy Urban Living and Ageing in Place (HULAP): assessment of older people's physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the social and built environment. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A poster entitled "Healthy Urban Living and Ageing in Place (HULAP): assessment of older people's physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the social and built environment" has been accepted for presentation by Dr Claire Cleland at the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity Annual Conference 2017, Victoria Canada. This conference will be attended by international delegates including post graduate students, researchers, academics, policy makers, practitioners and industry representatives.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Healthy Urban Living and Ageing in Place (HULAP): multimodal assessment of older people's physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the social and built environment. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A poster entitled "Healthy Urban Living and Ageing in Place (HULAP): multimodal assessment of older people's physical activity and sedentary behaviour in the social and built environment" has been accepted for presentation by Dr Claire Cleland at the 5th International Conference on Ambulatory Monitoring of Physical Activity and Movement (ICAMPAM) conference Bethesda, Maryland. This conference will be attended by international research, academic and industry delegates.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Seminar by Dr Jasper Schipperin, Sept 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Dr Jasper Schipperijn (University of Southern Denmark) gave a seminar detailing his research on GPS and physical activity at QUB.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Visit of HULAP Belfast Impact Advisory Group to Curitiba, Brazil to exchange expereinces with local Brazilian stakeholders 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact 6 stakeholders from Belfast met with 10+ local stakeholders from Brazil and experienced a range of other site visits while in Curitiba.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.belfasthealthycities.com/news/halfway-round-world