Tailored interventions for a healthier lifestyle

Within the Flagship A Lifecourse and Individual-based View on Lifestyle to Enhance Health, ALIVE for short, researchers are looking for a way to use data to tailor interventions to each individual’s characteristics and beliefs.

The need for effective lifestyle interventions may be greater today than it has ever been. Our lives are becoming steadily more sedentary, we get less exercise, we have an unhealthy diet and have sleeping problems. Lifestyle interventions can help, but the problem with most of them is that they don’t adequately accommodate the differences between people.

Public health

The Flagship project ALIVE aims to change this. Dr Trudy Voortman of Erasmus MC: “Our goal is to offer personal interventions, tailored to a person’s unique characteristics and situation. This will result in more healthy lifestyle choices, and hence improved public health.”

Data is the means to that end. Voortman: “There is a lot of data available from cohort and intervention studies, registers and national databases across the Netherlands. We want to combine this data to be able to make optimum use of it.”

Heart of ALIVE

This will be done through data infrastructure that is to be developed, and which will form the heart of ALIVE. This is where everything will come together; it is a convergence of all the disciplines involved. Co-lead Dr Jos Kraal: “In terms of the topic, there is a lot of overlap in the work of all those involved, but we all have a different approach, different methods and different ways of collecting data. Bringing together the various perspectives will yield very rich data.”

According to co-lead Dr Bram Wouterse, this data will allow the researchers to re-evaluate existing interventions: “In what manner do they take into account the characteristics of participants, why do they work for one group and not for the other?” During the first five years the focus will be on brain health and mental health, the domain of co-lead Dr Annemarie Luik.

Targeted interventions

The intention is to offer the infrastructure to interested parties in the field of practice. Wouterse: “If the City of Rotterdam wants to contribute to the health of its citizens, the data from the intended participants from the platform might be used to develop a tailored intervention for every participant.”