Physical Activity and Public Health


Profile of the Division of Public Health and Physical Activity

Since the beginning of the decade, the ISS has developed into an international scientific centre of competence for health and physical activity with a strong focus on ageing. Beginning in 2001, the institute has been able to sharpen its profile by appointing two new professors (main focus: sport science and public health, kinesiology and rehabilitation), increasing the overall grant volume by more than 5000%, and by quadrupling the annual output of publications. 
In a competitive call for funding by the Bavarian Innovation Fund for the Advancement of Elite Research that included a multi-stage reviewing process, the ISS was awarded an additional professorship for sport and kinesiological medicine in 2006.

Among the division‘s current projects are:

Building Policy Capacities for Health Promotion through Physical Activity among Sedentary Older People (PASEO)

The PASEO project intends to improve the implementation of programs for the promotion of physical activity among sedentary older people by helping build new policy capacities. PASEO will set up national alliances and employ a process of co-operative planning to build both inter-organisational (e.g. structures linking organisations) and intra-organisational capacities (e.g. personnel, resources). The project builds on the EU-sponsored EUNAAPA project (2006–2008). 15 European nations take part in PASEO, which is co-ordinated by Prof. Rütten. Funding (800,000€) is provided by the European Commission (DG SANCO).

Improving Infrastructures for Leisure-Time Physical Activity in the Local Arena (IMPALA)

The IMPALA project aims to identify, implement, and disseminate good practice in the planning, financing, building, and managing of local infrastructures for leisure-time physical activity. IMPALA will assist in concerting efforts for the development of local infrastructures for leisure-time physical activity in EU member states, thus helping to reduce inequalities in access to infrastructures for leisure-time physical activity within and across nations. Partners from 12 European nations take part in IMPALA. Funding (550,000€) is provided by the European Commission (DG SANCO).

The Influence of Multi-Modal Physical Activity on Cognition and Activities of Daily Living of Patients with Early Stage Alzheimer’s Disease (Sport & Kog)

The Sport & Kog is a large, multi-centre randomised controlled trial involving 19 different institutions from the disciplines of Neurology, Psychiatry, Gerontology, Sports Medicine, and Sports Science. The focus of the study will be on the effects of a multi-modal physical activity and exercise programme on the health and well-being of patients with early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Prof. Rütten is leading the development and implementation of the intervention within the trial. The project is funded by the German Ministry of Health (1.6 Million €).

The Movement as an Investment for Health Project (BIG)

BIG aims to promote physical activity among women in difficult life situations. BIG developed and evaluated interventions using innovative approaches of WHO. The project was funded by the German Ministry of Research (450,000€). A follow-up project to test the transferability is funded by the Bavarian Ministry of the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection (BIGff, 80,000€). The Federal Ministry of Health presents BIG as a model project within the National Action Plan on Nutrition and Physical Activity and sponsors its transfer to other regions in Germany (BIGGER, 100,000€).

Most recently, Prof. Rütten has served as a consultant/keynote speaker to:

  • International
    • Member of the international expert group of the Danish government on "Physical Activity and Health" 
(Copenhagen, 11/2009)
    • Keynote speech, MOVE 2009 World Congress on Active Cities (Copenhagen, 10/2009)
  • European Commission
    • Speaker at the EU Committee of Regions Meeting (Brussels, 11/2009)
  • German Ministry of Health
    • Member of the expert group on physical activity of the National Action Plan for Nutrition and Physical Activity IN FORM (2009)
  • The World Health Organisation
    • Temporary Advisor of WHO Rome Office on physical activity promotion in various Italian regions (Bologna, 11/2009)