Tanja Brüchert


Tanja Brüchert


+49 421 218 68824

Department of Social Epidemiology
Institute of Public Health and Nursing Research
Faculty of Human and Health Sciences
University of Bremen
Grazer Straße 2a
D - 28359 Bremen

Research Interests

  • Leisure-time physical activity and active transport in association with the neighbourhood environment
  • Course of action and perspectives of the German health service regarding health promotion

Dissertation Topic

Healthy by urban design – public health approaches to promote active mobility in older adults


Due to the increase in life expectancy in numerous countries of the world, healthy ageing becomes an important public health issue. Staying active and mobile are thereby important determinants of healthy ageing, which, besides the preservation of strength and balance, contribute to well-being, quality of life, autonomy and the possibility to participate in society. Walking and cycling are two modes of moderate activity which are easy and nearly everywhere to perform, have a low risk of injury and are inexpensive. 15 minutes of daily walking already increases life expectancy. Numerous studies describe the influence of the immediate neighbourhood surroundings on the possibility for being regularly active. However, two reviews conclude that evidence is lacking in terms of the relationship between environmental variables and cycling among older adults. In Germany, no findings exist at all. At the same time, numbers of older adults cycling are rising.
Even though public health researchers explore the determinants of physical activity and its value for health, this is not a commonly addressed topic of public health authorities in Germany. In the Ottawa Charter of 1986 the WHO underlines that the health sector alone is not able to guarantee the prerequisite for health. They call for a joint strategy and improved networking as well as considering health issues in all policy sectors ("health in all policies"). However, the interface between physical activity and the built environment, influenced by the urban and transport planning on the administrative level, is insufficiently recognized yet. Potential courses of action could be drawn from the new law on prevention, coming into force in 2016 in Germany.
The dissertation within the framework of AFOOT aims to investigate public health approaches and courses of action to promote the walking and cycling mobility of an ageing population by design of the built environment. Qualitative interviews with department chiefs of health authorities will be conducted amongst others. Furthermore, a survey about mobility behaviour of older adults with a special focus on the association between the built environment and cycling will be realised.

Academic Supervision

Prof. Dr. Gabriele Bolte, MPH, University of Bremen, Institute for Public Health und Nursing Research (IPP), Department Social Epidemiology