Research into healthy living is important, to prevent disease and to ensure healthcare remains affordable. What research is being conducted into lifestyle? What practical benefits can we expect to see? Read more about a healthy lifestyle, combined lifestyle intervention and lifestyle as medicine.

Knowledge about lifestyle for good health

Lots of people experience illness and chronic medical conditions sometime in their life. Good treatment is important, but it is also important to prevent people from becoming ill. A healthy lifestyle can help, contributing to good health and reducing the chance of illness.

ZonMw is identifying what knowledge is needed about lifestyle and providing grants for researchers to develop it. We are also promoting integrated collaboration and a stronger knowledge infrastructure, to help professional practitioners help their clients to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

What is a healthy lifestyle?

A healthy lifestyle means sufficient exercise, no smoking, little or no alcohol, a healthy diet and sufficient relaxation. Researchers are developing knowledge about a healthy lifestyle, healthy behaviour and how to maintain it.

We work with the Netherlands Heart Foundation to invest in knowledge development, because lifestyle also affects cardiovascular health. Researchers are developing innovative ways to help people maintain healthy behaviour.

An unhealthy lifestyle increases the chance of overweight. This is a complex problem, which can only be tackled by professionals working together in an integrated approach.

A healthy lifestyle helps prevent illness

Many people experience obesity, cancer or dementia sometime in their life. Their numbers are expected to grow over the coming years. It is important to prevent people from becoming ill, and a healthy lifestyle and healthy living environment can help.

Lifestyle factors also play a role in COVID-19. Exercise has a positive impact on the course of the disease and recovery from acute COVID-19, while smoking has a negative impact.

Combined lifestyle intervention for behavioural change

People who face health risks because they are overweight can receive help in the form of a combined lifestyle intervention (CLI). This requires a GP referral. A CLI combines a healthier diet with more exercise and individual coaching.

Lifestyle as medicine in curative care

Can changes in lifestyle be used to treat illness? A broad coalition with the name Lifestyle in Healthcare, which also involves TNO and the Netherlands Patient Federation, is currently in the start-up phase. Research into lifestyle medicine is also already underway. Researchers are studying the effect of various lifestyle interventions on chronic conditions.

Accessible community disease prevention services

When people turn to their GP, it is often in response to problems with their lifestyle or social circumstances. Researchers are working on creating better links between primary healthcare, public health and social factors, to help bring about successful, coherent and accessible community prevention services.

Lifestyle in professional training

How can we create a stronger disease prevention infrastructure, where professionals have ready access to each other’s services and skills? Researchers are working on innovation and collaboration (available in Dutch) in basic and post-basic training. Professionals will learn during their training to take a broader view than simply the medical aspects, to talk to their clients about a healthier lifestyle, and seek collaboration with other disciplines.

Living environment affects health

People’s living environment affects their health, behaviour and ability to participate in society. Knowledge from research helps local authorities to promote a healthy lifestyle and healthy communities in various ways. But there are other places, too, where lifestyle has an impact, such as the workplace, birth care and, for younger people, schools and daycare centres.

Prevention research

With prevention research, ZonMw provides innovative knowledge about prevention and health promotion, so everyone can live as healthily as possible in a healthy living environment. We do this by focusing on lifestyle, living environment, and socioeconomic health differences.

benutten we resultaten en opbrengsten beter in de praktijk

Zo benutten we resultaten en opbrengsten beter in de praktijk

Projectleiders en samenwerkingspartners vertellen over hun implementatieaanpak en -strategie om de opbrengsten uit het Preventieprogramma (beter) te benutten in de (zorg)praktijk. Wat zijn dé succesfactoren en welke tips geven ze voor samenwerking?

Inbedding van preventie in onderwijs

Hoe werk je aan een sterkere preventie infrastructuur, waarin professionals elkaar goed weten te vinden? Deze projectleiders leveren hun bijdrage door te zorgen voor vernieuwing en samenwerking in het (post-) initieel onderwijs. Specifiek op het gebied van preventie en gezondheidsbevordering.


Met preventieonderzoek zorgt ZonMw voor innovatieve kennis over preventie en gezondheidsbevordering, zodat iedereen zo gezond mogelijk kan leven in een gezonde leefomgeving. Dit doen we door in te zetten op leefstijl, leefomgeving en sociaaleconomische gezondheidsverschillen.