Bilbao, in the Basque Country, is the venue for the next YOUNG50 meeting, to be held at the end of June, at the premises of the local partner, Instituto de Investigación en Servicios de Salud (Kronikgune). It is the Consortium’s first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 public health crisis. The event was originally scheduled at the same venue in April 2020 but, inevitably, had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, which was then still in the early stages.

It is a strategic moment in the life of the YOUNG50 project which, by the very in-person nature of the screening and prevention programme, has been seriously affected by the outbreak. Now that spring is upon us and while the virus is temporarily at bay, our implementing sites, based at Viesoji Istaiga Centro Poliklinika, Lithuania, Luxembourg Institute of Health, and Asociata Aer Pur Romania, all plan to roll out the programme full steam ahead, making up for lost time.

The launch of the pilot YOUNG50 application is fast approaching. The aim of the app is to support screening participants in their commitment to make a lifestyle change by addressing a modifiable risk factor of their choice. Be it to stop smoking, step up daily physical activity, eat a healthier diet, or reduce the units of alcohol they consume on a weekly basis. The app will help screenees keep tangible track of their progress and spur them into a more salubrious lifestyle.

The groundwork has been laid for the analysis of short- and mid-term outcomes of the CARDIO50 best practice transfer. The aim is to inform guidelines and recommendations as well as provide lessons learned from the YOUNG50 experience with a view to assisting other Member States that plan to implement a cardiovascular screening and prevention programme.

To continue building awareness about cardiovascular risk and fostering greater engagement among the 50-year-old target population, the teams will leverage the growing evidence linking COVID-19 with increased morbidity and mortality from CVDs.

The Bilbao meeting will be an opportunity to further consolidate the YOUNG50 team and create lasting bonds.