Knowledge Based Bio-Economy


New dietary strategies addressing the specific needs of elderly population for a healthy ageing in Europe (Nutrition)

Project acronym: NU-AGE

Title of project: New dietary strategies addressing the specific needs of elderly population for a healthy ageing in Europe

Research area: Nutrition

Contract No: 266486

EU contribution: €8 998 889

Start date: May 2011

Duration: 60 months

Status: on-going

NU-AGE is a large multidisciplinary consortium (31 partners, from 17 EU countries) involving nutritionists, bio-gerontologists, immunologists and molecular biologists from the most prestigious research institutions in Europe, 5 large food industries, 8 traditional food companies and 1 biotech SME, partners covering the SME Food Industrial Associations of 13 European countries and the Confederation of the Food and Drink Industries in Europe.

The main objectives of NU-AGE are:

  1. To counteract the physical/cognitive decline occurring in the elderly as a consequence of the progressive alteration of different organs/systems (immune and cardiovascular systems, bone, brain, muscle and intestine). This is achieved through a 12 month elderly-tailored, whole diet intervention involving 1 250 healthy elderly men and women aged 65-79 years (half diet, half control) from 5 different EU regions.
  2. To assess the effect of the newly designed food pyramid – specifically for 65+ EU citizens – on the different organs/systems. This assessment uses a large set of biomarkers related to nutrition and ageing, with particular attention paid to the low grade, chronic, systemic inflammatory status called inflammageing – a major risk factor for common age-related diseases.
  3. Using a sub-group of 120 subjects to perform more in-depth studies.

The overall aim of the NU-AGE project is to improve health and quality of life in the ageing EU population by counteracting inflammageing through a whole diet approach. The project is creating new knowledge on how the whole diet approach (and thus the integration of different nutrients) can effect and counteract age-related decline. By investigating the interactions between economic constraints, behavioural controls and socio-cultural and health factors, NU-AGE will boost the provision and uptake of elderly-tailored foods.

NU-AGE's main outcomes will contribute to a better understanding of the nutritional requirements for a better quality of life for over 65 year-olds. This will support European strategies on nutritional recommendations by contributing to the substantiation of nutritional and health claims. It will also increase the competitiveness of the European food industry through the development of both functional food prototypes for the elderly and innovative SME-driven designs for advanced but traditional food products.

Website of project:

Coordinator: Prof. Claudio Franceschi,

Organisation: Alma Mater Studiorum-Universita di Bologna, Italy