Centre of Expertise Urban Vitality

Core programme themes

Under the auspices of the Urban Vitality programme, 18 professors (including professors by special appointment) are working together intensively on a number of core programme themes with a view to improving the health and lifestyle of Amsterdam residents.

The 9 core themes of the Urban Vitality programme range from one extreme to another – from delivering urgent and highly specialised care for vulnerable hospital patients to professional sport. Here is the complete list:

  • Urgent and highly specialised care
  • Hospital care
  • Transition to primary healthcare/rehabilitation
  • Tailor-made physical exercise for people with a disability or chronic illness
  • People in motion/health promotion
  • Physical education
  • Sport
  • Talent development
  • Professional sport

The professors and researchers make use of each other’s expertise and research groups, as there is a lot of overlap between these different research areas.

Take the two extremes of urgent & highly specialised care and professional sport: a professional athlete’s training programme can provide pointers for ways to help intensive-care patients build muscle and stamina – and not just by developing a tailor-made exercise regimen, but also as regards nutrition and insights about behaviour.

Another example of how the ‘Urgent and Highly Specialised Care’, ‘Hospital Care’ and ‘Transition to Primary Healthcare/Rehabilitation’ research teams are working together is on acute hospitalisation, which is considered a major life event.

How can we deliver diagnostics and interdisciplinary treatment in ways that can make the transition to returning home as smooth as possible? In this context, the researchers will examine how patients’ movement patterns, diet, behaviour and motivation can be influenced in positive ways. It’s also important that appropriate plans are made that include patients’ living situations, a network of informal caregivers (relatives, friends and neighbours) and fully-briefed primary healthcare providers on standby.

The researchers will also explore how patients scheduled for hospitalisation can best be prepared to ensure that they are admitted to hospital in an optimum condition. This, in turn, will have a positive impact on their recovery (‘better in, better out’).

Promoting health among Amsterdam residents and encouraging them to stay active and social – that’s what the ‘Tailor-Made Physical Exercise’, ‘People in Motion/Health Promotion’ and ‘Physical Education’ research teams are working on. In doing so, they focus on the various individual demographics – from vulnerable and lonely elderly people to children with obesity – and tailor their approach to what works for these specific groups.

The emphasis is on preventing health complaints, with exercise, nutrition, behaviour and motivation playing an important role. The research teams are also exploring addiction and mental health problems.

The researchers working in the ‘Physical Education’, ‘Sport’, ‘Talent Development’ and ‘Professional Sport’ programme themes focus on people’s enjoyment of physical activity, whether it be at school, in their free time or while participating in sport. They explore questions such as: How can sports injuries be prevented? What is the best way to deal with sports injuries if you’re in a wheelchair (exercise, nutrition, behaviour)? How can obesity and motor skill delays in children be prevented or addressed? And also: how can sports clubs help people to reach the top level in their sport? How can professional rowers avoid getting back problems?

Published by  Urban Vitality 22 May 2019