Aďda Solé-Auró, a professor at the UPF Department of Political and Social Sciences and coordinator of the research group in SocioDemographics ( DemoSoc ), and Ignacio González Salgado , a postdoctoral researcher with the Department of Sociology of Pablo de Olavide University in Seville and a member of the Demography and Social Research in Health ( PAIDI ) group, are the principal investigators of a project funded by the University of Lleida (UdL)-ASISA Foundation "Health, Education and Quality of Life" Chair.
The research, lasting one year, will analyse determinants of the health of the study population such as diet, physical activity, alcohol and tobacco consumption, and the influence that socioeconomic level, sex and place of residence can have on these determinants. Specifically, it aims to find out and explore the risk factors for health, lifestyles and behaviours related to the health of people aged 70 to 79 in the cities of Seville and Lleida.
Aďda Solé-Auró: "The qualitative methodology we will use will make it easier to find out the health determinants for this group of elderly people, and will allow establishing priority lines of action, especially in the field of preventive health, by public administrations"
The research will apply a qualitative methodology for data collection consisting of two complementary techniques: semi-structured interviews and discussion groups. Semi-structured interviews collect individual perspectives from the interviewees, whereas discussion groups provide a collective vision. Eight semi-structured interviews and four discussion groups will be held in each of the two cities (Lleida and Seville): sixteen interviews and eight discussion groups in all.
"The qualitative methodology we will use will make it easier to find out the health determinants for this group of elderly people, and will allow establishing priority lines of action, especially in the field of preventive health, by public administrations", Aďda Solé-Auró states.
Why were these two cities chosen?The demographic context and aging of the Andalusian and Catalan populations with respect to Spain as a whole serves as a stimulus for the research team to examine the aforementioned determinants related to health in the two cities.
"The Andalusian population presents ideal conditions for the study of risk factors and lifestyles, due to an epidemiological profile marked by higher mortality of elderly people from cardiovascular diseases and a higher incidence and prevalence of risk factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, diabetes, dyslipidaemia, low socioeconomic status and obesity", says Ignacio González Salgado.
In addition, according to professor Aďda Solé-Auró, "the comparison between the two cities of different population weights such as Seville and Lleida can serve to provide relevant information regarding territorial differences in terms of the health of elderly people in the north-east and south-west of Spain".
This research is part of the study on aging explained by the general increase in the proportion of elderly people impacting the structure of the population pyramid. Other scientific studies indicate that the effects of the pandemic have led to a reduction in physical activity and an increase in sedentary lifestyles among this age group in Spain, as well as the abandonment of behaviours traditionally associated with the Mediterranean diet, thus making the need for this type of research even more necessary.
Studying negative health behaviours, especially related to cardiovascular and chronic diseases, adapting current public policies, and promoting preventive health programmes and healthy habits, which can ensure aging with a higher quality of life, is the final objective of the project.