What is DO-HEALTH?

DO-HEALTH is a clinical trial designed

  • To support healthy aging in European seniors
  • To establish whether vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and a simple home exercise program will prevent disease at older age and thereby prolong healthy life expectancy

To achieve these aims, DO-HEALTH aimed to enroll 2152 community-dwelling men and women who are 70 years and older, an age when chronic diseases increase substantially. The DO-HEALTH seniors were recruited from 7 European cities (Zurich, Basel, Geneva, Toulouse, Berlin, Innsbruck and Coimbra) and were randomized in a 2x2x2 factorial design trial to a simple home exercise program and/or vitamin D, and/or omega-3 fatty acids, over a 3 year period. This will allow to test the benefit of the interventions in the prevention of 5 primary endpoints: the risk of incident non-vertebral fractures; the risk of functional decline; the risk of blood pressure increase; the risk of cognitive decline; and the rate of any infection. Key secondary endpoints include risk of hip fracture, rate of falls, pain in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, gastro-intestinal symptoms, mental and oral health, quality of life, and life-expectancy. DO-HEALTH seniors were followed for 3 years, in-person, and in 3-monthly intervals (4 clinical visits and 9 phone calls) at the 7 recruitment centers.

Can I still participate in DO-HEALTH?

All clinical visits have been completed. However, this website will inform you on the progress of DO-HEALTH.

Where is DO-HEALTH today?

DO-HEALTH started in December 2012 and by November 28th 2014 it reached the 100% recruitment target successfully: A total of 2157 men and women age 70 years and older participate in the study and were recruited from 7 University Centers in 5 European countries: 552 from Zurich, 253 from Basel, 201 from Geneva, 350 from Berlin, 200 from Innsbruck, 300 from Toulouse and 301 from Coimbra.  In November 2017 the last DO-HEALTH participant had the final 3-year visit. DO-HEALTH is unique to date, and defines the most comprehensively assessed and largest cohort of community-dwelling seniors in Europe. Final results on the effects of the interventions individually and in combination will be available in mid-2018.

Follow the news about DO-HEALTH :
— See our media release on November 20, 2017: UZH spearheads Largest European Study on Aging
Click here for the international media release in English, German and French
— See our post on the 5th DO-HEALTH Annual Meeting on February 17th 2017.
Click here for the IOF newsletter and here for the interviews with Prof. Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, Prof. John Kanis and Prof. John E. Orav.



As the European population is aging rapidly, health at older age has become a central concern:

To the individual who wants to stay active and independent at older age, to the society who will increasingly depend on the productivity of the senior population, and to health care providers who are challenged by the marked increase in age-related chronic diseases.

To address this concern, effective, affordable, and well-tolerated strategies that prevent or delay chronic disease at older age and prolong healthy life expectancy are urgently needed.  These strategies, if proven effective, will have an outstanding impact at the individual, economic, and public health level.

Among the most promising strategies that meet these requirements are vitamin D, marine omega-3 fatty acids and physical exercise. However, their individual and combined effects have yet to be confirmed in a large clinical trial.

DO-HEALTH will close this knowledge gap in a large multi-centre clinical trial that will define the role of vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and a simple home exercise program in extending healthy life expectancy and improving quality of life in European seniors.