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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

7.4 Healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition

Last update: 8 August 2023
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  1. National strategy(ies)
  2. Encouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people
  3. Health education and healthy lifestyles education in schools
  4. Peer-to-peer education approaches
  5. Collaboration and partnerships
  6. Raising awareness on healthy lifestyles and on factors affecting the health and well-being of young people

National strategy(ies)

The prevention and health promotion strategy of the Spanish NHS:

The Health Promotion and Prevention Strategy, active since 2013, is a proposal of the Interterritorial Council, made up of the General State Administration and the Autonomous Communities. It proposes the progressive development of interventions aimed at improving health and preventing diseases, injuries and disabilities. Those responsible for carrying out the strategy are health-related professionals as well as the central and autonomous health administrations.


The overall objective is to promote the health and well-being of the population by promoting healthy environments and lifestyles and improving safety from injury. The strategic lines addressed are: public health empowerment, territorial coordination and governance, health equity, reorientation of health services, intersectoral health, healthy and safe environments, as well as community participation and action.


Although the strategy is aimed at the Spanish community in general, it is planned in areas of implementation and action, prioritizing those under 15 years of age as the first of the population to carry out the plan's actions. Its implementation is also carrying out interventions in the academic field, and a positive parenting program.



Strategy for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention (NAOS)

In force since 2005, it is a health strategy framed in the policies of the international health agencies (WHO, the EU) and its main objective is to reverse the trend of the prevalence of obesity by promoting a healthy diet and the practice of physical activity. Although the strategy targets the entire population, it fundamentally prioritises; children, the youth and the most disadvantaged population groups, focusing on gender and avoiding inequalities in health. The responsible authority for the strategy is the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN) dependant on the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. It has as main strategic lines of action:


  • Health protection: it proposes to facilitate access to a varied diet, balanced and moderate in terms of caloric consumption, of fats and sugars.


  • Prevention and promotion of health: it tries to reduce the exposure of people to risk factors such as inadequate feeding, sedentariness and inactivity. Following up, monitoring and evaluation: created with the intention of controlling the prevalence of obesity and overweight, as well as its determinants.


Monitoring childhood obesity:

Spain is hosting the initiative promoted by the European Region of the WHO for the monitoring of childhood obesity, WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (COSI), with the aim of developing a joint system to combat obesity in children. With the joint cooperation of the member countries, an improvement is pursued in the evaluation of the policies and measures implemented for the prevention and eradication of the patterns of overweight and obesity.

Within this initiative, four waves have been carried out in Spain (2011, 2013, 2015 y 2019) of the Study on Food, Physical activity, Child Development and Obesity (ALADINO), which aims to gather information on the healthy habits of children between 6 and 9 years old, as well as information on their anthropometric measurements. Spain is among the countries with the highest rates of childhood obesity in Europe, which is why the National Strategic Plan for the Reduction of Childhood Obesity 2022-2030 has been launched. It is a roadmap to facilitate growing up in a healthy way becomes a right regardless of social or territorial origin,


Encouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people


Healthy lifestyles web of the Ministry of health:


Health education and healthy lifestyles education in schools

Organic Law 3/2020, of 29 December, which amends Organic Law 2/2006, of 3 May, on Education (LOMLOE) emphasizes in its regulations the importance of education for responsible consumption and health, including affective-sexual education, equality and cooperation among equals in a cross-cutting manner at all educational stages. It also points out the importance of nutritional well-being in schools, as recommended in the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health (WHO), which urges governments to adopt policies that support a healthy diet in schools.

There is no single curriculum in the Spanish territory on Health Education, although the areas usually taught in schools are associated with physical activity and healthy eating; wellbeing and emotional health; affective-sexual education; safety and risk prevention of injuries and accidents; and education on drug addiction (alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs).


Health and sex education in Spain:

Sex education in Spain is not regulated at the national level and is relegated to the discretion of educational institutions. However, there are programs developed by municipalities, autonomous communities and other institutions, such as the Sexual and Reproductive Health Program of the Ministry of Health of Madrid, implemented in schools that voluntarily agree to adopt it. The objective of this program is to educate young people, as well as other groups, such as people from the LGBTI community and with social vulnerabilities, by disseminating information on contraceptive methods, AIDS, sexual orientation and organizing workshops around this sexual education.

Peer-to-peer education approaches

There is no online resources available on national programs, projects and/or strategies for peer education approaches. However, peer education and peer learning have worked in different educational settings. The Community of Extremadura, for example, has implemented the Program “Peer support. Accompanying students.”  for primary and secondary education, which aims to involve students in the teaching process with the objective of preventing, detecting and resolving coexistence conflicts.

Another case is the Youth 4 Youth proposal, coordinated by the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies (MIGS). It is a program for awareness raising, training and peer education in formal and non-formal educational settings. A manual has been developed to promote its implementation in schools and youth centers. The monitoring and evaluation process will depend on the centers that implement the project through feedback and questionnaires, demonstrating the impact that peer education really has on the knowledge of the students involved.


Collaboration and partnerships

In 2022, an agreement was signed between the Ministry of Health and the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces to continue promoting the Spanish Network of Healthy Cities (established in 1988 in accordance with the principles of the Healthy Cities project of the World Health Organization) and the local implementation of the Health Promotion and Prevention Strategy.

TheNAOS strategy works in a coordinated manner with the Ministries of Health of the Autonomous Communities through a technical working group, which is coordinated with the Ministry of Agriculture and Education when addressing matters within their competence.


Raising awareness on healthy lifestyles and on factors affecting the health and well-being of young people

The main provider of official information on healthy lifestyles is the Ministry of Health. The ministry through different websites, initiatives and institutions disseminates information on health promotion and prevention, such as the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN).


Ministry of Health campaigns:

The Ministry's web page provides access to the different campaigns that have been carried out since 2005 on consumption, risk behavior, gender violence, sexually transmitted diseases, social inclusion and vaccination, most of them aimed at young people. The website of the National Plan on Drugs also contains the campaign "Minors without alcohol: Educate-Inform-Prevent" to inform and alert parents of the dangers and consequences of alcohol consumption on health.


Nutrition and Physical Activity Campaigns:

The Spanish agency AESAN of the Ministry of Health has developed a series of Nutrition and Physical Activity Campaigns:


  • Healthy plate: How to make a healthy composition of a plate of food following the recommendations of the "Harvard Plate".
  • "Put more heroes on your plate and fill your life with superpowers": Its objective is to promote healthy eating and fight against childhood obesity.
  • Activilandia: is a Virtual Theme Park focused on healthy eating, varied physical activity and active leisure, as well as other healthy habits, aimed at children between 6 and 12 years old, their parents or guardians.