"If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health."HIPPOCRATES, 460 BC - 370 BC
The Knowledge Alliance for Communities of Practice for Healthy Lifestyle (COP4HL) is an EU co-funded project undertaken between 2018 and 2020 by a starting consortium of 17 organisations from seven EU member states.
The Knowledge Alliance develops and sustains local communities of practice to stimulate innovation and socio-economic development in the area of Healthy Ageing.
Healthy ageing of European citizens is of high priority on the EU agenda with the average life expectancy increasing. However, this development is accompanied with more chronic diseases, lower quality of life and higher costs. Today, around 90% of mortality in the European Union is due to non-communicable diseases and risk factors such as a person's lifestyle.
This requires a fundamental rethinking of how we organize health and health policy. Much more emphasis should be laid upon prevention through stimulation of Healthy Lifestyle on a community scale.
However, although many scientists, decision-makers, and policymakers, as well as practitioners acknowledge the importance and necessity of this prevention objective, no big breakthroughs are reported so far.
Our COP4HL Knowledge Alliance positively contributes to this very complex EU wide societal and economic challenge of the promotion of a healthy lifestyle of European citizens.
To change the current situation for the better, the COP4HL Knowledge Alliance adopts a complex system approach towards healthy lifestyle in which a multi-level approach is promoted.
This approach is based on the premise that an individual’s behaviour is shaped by a dynamic interaction with the physical and social environment, including influences at the interpersonal, organizational, community, and policy levels.
Our Knowledge Alliance promotes intensive cooperation between important actors and sectors related to a healthy lifestyle such as health, well-being, and sport.
This impact-driven multi-sector approach is necessary to develop innovative products and services that must be implemented for change. With it, an immensely important element marks the eye-level cooperation of higher education institutes, businesses, and other stakeholders.
The COP4HL Knowledge Alliance is composed of higher education institutes, businesses, and public authorities, who are accepting the need of co-creating knowledge to stimulate innovation for an Active and Healthy Lifestyle.
Together they develop local communities of practice (COP) that are organised as learning partnerships providing a creative model for connecting in the spirit of learning and improving key competences and skills in the field.
By linking a strategic European point of view, with practice-based problem-solving through local communities of practice, our Knowledge Alliance applies a unique holistic approach.
This allows shifting behaviours to an active and healthy lifestyle, and it leads to a more integrated set-up of the sectors behind. With it, our Knowledge Alliance marks a milestone for joint implementation of learning and modernizing the concept of Healthy Ageing.