The Juho Vainio Foundation's large grant for Professor Raija Korpelainen
The Juho Vainio Foundation has awarded the large grant for the year 2024 to Professor Raija Korpelainen, the Professor of Health Exercise at the University of Oulu.
The grant of €100,000 is allocated to the REPACT research led by Korpelainen. The study investigates the significance of residential environment diversity and features of the built environment in relation to population mobility, sleep, cardiovascular disease risk, and mental health throughout the life course.
The research, conducted at the University of Oulu and Oulu Deaconess Institute (ODL) Sports Clinic, utilizes extensive survey and measurement data spanning nearly 60 years from the Northern Finland Birth Cohorts of 1966 and 1986. Cohort data is combined with unique information describing natural and built residential environment features based on lifelong spatial information and migration history. The physical activity of participants at different life stages is assessed through surveys and measurements using motion sensors. Additionally, the study utilizes Telia operator data on population mobility and soil sample data collected from participants' residential areas.
Central to the design of well-being-promoting and sustainable residential environments is the promotion of walking and cycling, which are also United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Urban planning can influence residents' mobility opportunities. According to studies, reducing sedentary time and engaging in light movement can be significant for health. Replacing even small amounts of time spent sitting with light movement daily could yield significant health benefits.
The research generates internationally unique information for decision-making, land use, urban planning, and the design of effective interventions promoting physical activity and well-being. "Such a comprehensive examination of physical activity in relation to residential environment features has never been done before, and there are no population-based studies on the topic yet. Operator data has also not been utilized previously. The use of soil samples is also new in exercise research," says Korpelainen.
The Juho Vainio Foundation grants scholarships for research and other health-promoting activities that contribute to public health and healthy lifestyles. The supported areas include health exercise, health-promoting nutrition, combating health harms from smoking, alcohol, and other substance use, promoting mental health, and promoting environmental health. This year, researchers from the University of Oulu, including Anna Pulakka, Nina Rautio, Maija Korpisaari, and Anni Niskanen, also received funding from the Juho Vainio Foundation.