Let food and physical activity be your medicine

Lessons from EuGMS Athens 2020 pre-congress seminar
  • George SoulisEmail author
  • Marina Kotsani
  • Athanase Benetos
Special Article

Key summary points


To prepare the ground for the forthcoming Athens 2020 EUGMS congress by organizing a pre-congress seminar, since Geriatrics is not an officially recognised field in Greece.


There is a keen interest by different health care professionals to attend high quality geriatrically oriented activities, since there was a rather good in terms of number and vivid in terms of interaction participation.


There is a relatively lively desire from audience of diverse background to participate in geriatrically oriented high quality seminars and scientific activities in Greece. This is somehow promising, considering the organization of the 2020 EUGMS congress in Athens.


Purpose In the context of the preparation of the 16th EuGMS Congress that will be held in Athens in 2020, EUGMS and the Hellenic Consortium for Geriatric Medicine organized a pre-congress seminar in November 2018.


The seminar focused on the role of diet and physical activity in healthy aging.


It seems that the Mediterranean Diet (MD) remains one of the most well-studied and scientifically appreciated diets and holds much promise also in older age. It is never too late to adhere to a healthier diet and MD seems to attenuate inflammaging and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, impaired cognition, and frailty. Food preparation also emerges as a critical issue due to its relation to Advanced Glycation End-products that are tightly related to the aging process. Physical activity is the second pillar of health-promoting lifestyle changes. It can alleviate related to age structural and physiological decline. It does not only reduce total morbidity and mortality in older adults, but also improves functionality and decreases disability in aerobic capacity, body composition, muscle mass, bone density, articulation performance. A multi-component physical activity, combining endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility training which is preferable for older adults is advisable. However, adherence to an active lifestyle meets additional challenges for older people, which could be overcome by adjusting intensity and types of exercise in individual capacities and preferences and by campaigning against stereotypes.


Promoting healthy diet and physical activity as the new trend in healthy aging is a relevant, cost-effective, and challenging perspective, adjustable to individual needs and values. But most importantly, eating and moving are part of our living, our socializing, and our cultural routines, and by these means, could consist two particularly effective remedies.


Mediterranean diet Healthy aging Physical activity Healthy lifestyle choices 



The authors owe special acknowledgements to Prof Stefania Maggi, immediate past president of the EuGMS, Prof. Mirko Petrovic, Academic director of the EuGMS, and Prof. Anastassia Kossioni, member of the Academic Board, who (in addition to Prof. Benetos President Elect) represented the EuGMS and contributed to the success of this meeting. Moreover, authors would like to warmly thank Dr Eleni Andreou-Georgaki, Prof Konstantinos Chrysanthopoulos, Prof George Dedousis, Prof Ioannis Ellul, Dr Ioannis Georgiopoulos, Dr Ioannis Gioulbasanis, Prof Ioannis Karaitianos, Dr Eirini Kelaiditi, Dr Giagkos Lavranos, Dr Peggy Lymberi, Prof Xanthi Michail, Mr Evangelos Mytilinaios, Dr George Panayiotou, Dr Georgia Petta, Dr Kalliopi-Anna Poulia, Dr Theodora-Eirini Sialvera, Dr Jirar Topouchian, Prof Antonia Trichopoulou, and Mrs Aikaterini Bograkou-Tzanetakou for their participation in lectures and round tables and their important contribution in the seminar’s success. Acknowledgements are also attributed to the Hellenic Consortium for Geriatric Medicine composed of the united action of Greek Associations, namely the Panhellenic Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology, the Hellenic Society for the Study and Research of Aging, the Hellenic Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, the Hellenic Society of Geriatric Oncology, and the Hellenic Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, and to other partners of the seminar, namely the International Society for Vascular Health and Aging, the Hypertension Infarction and Stroke Prevention Association, the Hellenic Pasteur Institute and its Association of Friends, the Hellenic Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, and, of course, the European Geriatric Medicine Society.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The event was partially sponsored by the University of Nicosia, Nutricia + Fortimel, Swiss Nature and medNutrition (total sponsoring < 5000 euros). The authors disclose no other conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© European Geriatric Medicine Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hellenic Consortium for Geriatric MedicineAthensGreece
  2. 2.Geriatric Outpatient Unit Henry Dunant Hospital CenterAthensGreece
  3. 3.Department of GeriatricsCHU de Nancy and INSERM 1116, Université de LorraineNancyFrance

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