Understanding the interplay between the environment and our health

A new European research project studying the interactions between the environment, lifestyle and health in determining the risks of chronic cardiovascular and metabolic disease is launched this month. This collaborative project has been awarded funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and development programme. Led by the University of Oulu in Finland, the consortium’s research will build on life-course data from 11 million European citizens to study cardio-metabolic health trajectories from birth to old age.

Lifestyle and living environments have changed. Environmental exposures, including air and noise pollution, the built environment and an individual’s psychological, social and lifestyle determinants, interplay with genetic factors leading to increasing the risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic non-communicable diseases, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and atherosclerosis. The LongITools project will study and measure how longitudinal exposure to these environmental factors contribute to the risk of developing such diseases across the life-course. The project will take an exposome or holistic-based approach, linking individual and societal health to the environment to define the disease pathways and the points at which to best intervene during the life-course to reduce the risks. A key objective will be to generate new monitoring and prediction methods and tools which can also translate into innovative healthcare and policy options.

This ambitious project includes partners from 15 research institutions and three small and medium-sized enterprises across eight European countries with expertise in epidemiology, genetics, epigenetics, metabolomics, lifestyle, mathematics, economics, policy making and sensor technology.

Project Coordinator, Professor Sylvain Sebert says “The economic and societal burden of non-communicable diseases rise steeply with age and have a huge bearing on healthcare costs. It also coincides with the alteration of the environment. We are therefore delighted that funding has been awarded and are excited at the prospect of developing research and delivering results that will not only identify preventive measures but will also play a role in addressing social health inequalities.”

LongITools, which started on 1st January, is a five-year project with a total grant of €11,997,448 from Horizon 2020. A comprehensive website will be launched in May 2020. The project is also one of nine projects in the newly created ‘European Human Exposome Network’ and the launch of this network will take place in Brussels on 11th February. To keep-up-to-date with the project’s progress please follow @longitools on Twitter.


This press release only reflects the author’s view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

Press Contact: Claire Webster

Project Coordinator: Sylvain Sebert