Boosting lifestyle modification for older adults and elderly at risk of Metabolic Syndrome: the Attica and Central Greece Gatekeeper pilot

This article highlights the intervention of the Greek Pilot in the Gatekeeper project and was published on behalf of Ms. Eva Karaglani, Attica’s Pilot Site Manager, Dr. Maria Vlachava, Central Greece’s Pilot Site Manager and Ms Ioanna Drympeta, the Greek pilot representative and technical manager.

“A healthy mind in a healthy body” is our saying in our endeavour to encourage healthy nutrition and lifestyle for the ageing population in Greece. The Greek Pilot site is inviting older adults and elderly citizens to join a lifestyle intervention, harnessing the capabilities of digital tools and aiming to promote active and healthy ageing.

In recent decades, life expectancy has shown a notable increase, creating the need for further actions targeting older adults. The interest point for older adults has moved from living many years, to living many healthy years. Healthy ageing is about enabling older people to enjoy a good quality of life and this is the cornerstone of the Attica and Central Greece Gatekeeper pilot. The aim is to focus on all three dimensions of health: physical, mental and social wellbeing.

The first pilot site in the Greek intervention takes place in the Attica region and is coordinated by Harokopio University of Athens. The second pilot site is launched in Central Greece by the University of Thessaly. The purpose of this intervention study is to support active and healthy ageing in older adults with Metabolic Syndrome risk factors, through the use of innovative technologies and wearable devices.

Metabolic Syndrome Management Platform, developed by the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH)

The intention is to involve 1,000 volunteer participants (300 in Central Greece and 700 in Attica), including dietitians and other Health Care Professionals (HCPs), who will explore the potential of new technologies in the pursuit of behavioural change.

More specifically, the participants will use the Metabolic Syndrome Management Platform developed by the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH), which enables HCPs to create and assign a personalised care plan to the pilot volunteers. These personalised plans involve a range of assignments such as nutrition plans, exercise goals, questionnaires and other educational material. Measurements from integrated devices (activity trackers, smart weight scales) are automatically transferred to the platform, while adherence to assignments is recorded. By doing this, both the older adults and the professionals can have a clear overview of their progress and the treatment can be adjusted accordingly. A digital consent mechanism is used to ensure that user privacy is preserved.

“We are delighted to attempt the inclusion of wearable devices in the standard nutritional care of people with major risk factors for chronic diseases. We believe that people who want to change their lifestyle need to take control of themselves and feel self-efficient, and these technologies can be a key step towards this goal.” – Dr. Yannis Manios, Professor of Nutritional Assessment and Health Promotion at the Harokopio University of Athens and Chief Researcher for the Attica pilot.

Key Enabling Technologies used in the study: activity tracker, smart weight scale and Metabolic Syndrome Management Platform

This is a holistic approach that addresses both mental and physical health, such as regular physical activity, healthy diets, social relationships and participation in meaningful activities. The medical science has made a breakthrough in the medical management of acute and chronic diseases, increasing lifespan. However, the prevention of functional decline and frailty is still