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EACEA National Policies Platform


7. Health and Well-Being

7.4 Healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition

Last update: 28 March 2024
On this page
  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)

In the 12th Development Plan, "Ensuring that individuals lead a healthy life in a state of complete physical and mental well-being" is set as a goal and the following policies and measures are envisaged:

3.3.3. Health - 706 Preventive health services will be strengthened against the risks of non-communicable diseases by promoting healthy lifestyles.

3.3.3. Health - 706.1 In order to promote healthy lifestyles, habits such as healthy eating and increasing physical activity will be transformed into social attitudes, awareness-raising activities will be carried out, health literacy will be promoted and individual responsibility will be developed.


In the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Health 2024-2028, Objective 1 is stated as: "Ensuring the acquisition of healthy living awareness and habits by promoting healthy living". In line with this objective, 4 targets have been set: 

  • Target 1.1 To promote and develop healthy eating and active life habits 
  • Target 1.2 To continue the fight against tobacco products and reduce the use of addictive substances 
  • Target 1.3 Raising awareness on mental health and protecting individuals from mental health risks 
  • Target 1.4 To improve the responsibility of the individual by raising the national level of health literacy

"Türkiye Healthy Nutrition and Active Life Program Adult and Childhood Obesity Prevention and Physical Activity Action Plan", one of the most important documents on healthy lifestyle and healthy nutrition, was implemented between 2019-2023. The updating of the document to cover the period 2024-2028 was carried out in December 2023 together with public institutions, organizations and academicians. The redaction process of the document is ongoing.


Encouraging healthy lifestyles and healthy nutrition for young people

Türkiye Healthy Nutrition and Active Life Program was implemented by the Ministry of Health between 2010-2014. It was updated and continued to be implemented between 2014-2017 and 2019-2023. Efforts to update the program between 2024 and 2028 are ongoing.The aim of the program is to effectively combat the increasing prevalence of obesity in Turkey, which also affects children and adolescents, by increasing public awareness and knowledge about combating obesity. This includes encouraging individuals to adopt habits of adequate and balanced diet and regular physical activity. Thus, the goal is to reduce the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain types of cancer, hypertension, musculoskeletal disorders, etc. in Turkey In addition, various other programs, projects and training activities are conducted by several institutions and organizations including certain public bodies and institutions, universities, private sector, civil society organizations, etc. Conducting these works in a coordinated manner and in line with a road map is an important factor affecting the level of success. The action plan also aimed at carrying out the planned works in our country within the context of a certain program so that these works can be measured, monitored, conducted in a coordinated manner. Accordingly, certain strategies, objectives, and measures have been set and implemented in the framework of the Healthy Nutrition and Active Life Program of Turkey (Türkiye Sağlıklı Beslenme ve Hareketli Hayat Programı) (2024-2028).

I Eat Healthy at My School Program” is a pilot project initiated by the Ministry of National Education to ensure the best physical, cognitive and social development of children from pre-school to secondary education. It is known that the food served in food establishments such as eating halls, canteens and cafeterias in schools has an impact on students' physical development and learning processes.  The program aims to raise awareness on food safety and adequate and balanced nutrition. In addition, the website includes educational content on healthy nutrition and physical activity for students, teachers and parents.

The Ministry of Health prepared cartoons with the themes of oral and dental health and hygiene of hands for children in order to support healthy life style, and they were shared with the target audience through healthy life tools. Works on Sağlık IP TV (Health IP TV) to cover the topics of the fight against tobacco, active life, healthy nutrition, organ donation, 112 emergency service, blood donation, and Central Physician Appointment System (MHRS) are going on at full speed.

The "Healthy Steps Project" was launched in 2012 by the Directorate General of Basic Education under the Ministry of National Education in order to raise awareness of 3rd grade primary school students, their teachers and parents on proper nutrition and physical activity, and to raise awareness of balanced nutrition among target groups through trainings. In the context of the project, which has been developed to support the learning outcomes of Social Studies, Games and Physical Activities lessons in 3rd grades (primary school); in addition to the course contents, certain tools and methods have been offered so that the teachers can impress the students and their parents and the students can impress their parents, to  create a behavioral change and a change in attitudes as a chain through in-class implementations. The project aims to raise awareness among children on healthy nutrition at an early stage of their development, facilitate the raising of healthy generations in the future, and to protect children from various diseases thanks to healthy nutrition.

In order to ensure that students start the day fitter and more motivated by exercising, the Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Ministry of National Education, prepared pre-class exercise videos for primary, middle and high school students. A commission consisting of academics from universities took part in the production process of the videos showing how to apply the exercises that students can do in their daily school clothes. Exercises suitable for age groups were determined through the studies. The videos were actively used in distance education on national channels during the pandemic. These videos are also available on the YouTube channel of the Ministry of Health.

Health education and healthy lifestyles education in schools

School Health is defined as all the works conducted to evaluate and improve the health of students and school staff, ensure and maintain a healthy school life, and provide health training to students and thus to the society. School health services cover the works conducted to evaluate the health of students and school staff together with their families, improve their health, ensure and maintain a healthy school life, and provide training to the students, schools and thus to a population that makes nearly one-fifth of the society (and when they are considered together with their families, almost half of the society either directly or indirectly).

The aim of health education is to provide correct health information to students, and let them gain positive behaviors for a healthy lifestyle. Health education is designed to create a healthy society by helping the students “change their behaviors for a life-long healthy lifestyle”. When students gain healthy habits through health education, their families are also positively affected by this. The studies conducted advocate that students are the leader of health education and the easiest way to access the families.

The basic duties of health personnel working at primary health institutions include providing “health education at schools”. Programs of the Ministry of National Education serve as a guide in defining the topics to be covered in these education activities. In addition, the Ministry of Health asks the primary health institution staff to provide education in the context of certain days and weeks. Sometimes, school managements and health institutions also organize health education programs to address the health problems and children’s needs in certain regions, depending on the characteristics of the respective region.

The Ministry of Health has prepared the Turkish Nutrition Guide (TÜBER). The "Nutrition in School Age and Adolescence" section is also included in the TÜBER and includes recommended portion amounts and sample menus for the consumption of food groups for these age groups.

"Teacher's Guide on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Preschool Teachers" was prepared under the coordination of the Ministry of Health with the efforts of the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services and academicians who are experts in their fields.

The "Healthy Nutrition and Physical Activity Teacher's Handbook" was prepared by the Ministry of Health in 2015 and updated in 2017 for the benefit of school-age educators.

There is a lesson called Medical Knowledge and Traffic Culture taught in secondary schools. The curriculum content of the Medical Knowledge and Traffic Culture Lesson has been developed by taking into consideration issues like healthy life, health protection, first aid knowledge, traffic rules, safe traffic, and traffic accidents. The Curriculum of Medical Knowledge and Traffic Culture Lesson, which was drafted based on the General Purposes and Basic Principles of Turkish National Education defined in the 2nd article of the Basic Law of National Education numbered 1739, aims to enable the students to:

  • have an understanding of health-related basic concepts and terms,
  •  realize that being healthy and leading a healthy life is a human right,
  • have an understanding of the positive impacts of protective health services on the health of individuals and society,
  • be willing to improve and protect their individual health, and adopt the relevant attitudes required to lead a healthy life,
  • follow-up the developments about health,
  • be knowledgeable about basic first aid responses to disease or injury situations that may be encountered,
  • realize the attitudes and values required by the traffic culture to be adopted, and transform them into behaviors,
  • have an understanding of the rules to be complied with in the traffic environment.

Peer-to-peer education approaches

It is accepted that health education and health development education should no be limited to the curricula offered in classes. The Health Developing Schools Project (Sağlığı Geliştiren Okullar Projesi) is an action that involves teachers, school staff and everyone dealing with school business. The concept of health developing schools has been designed on the principle of equality of opportunities in education. It aims to offer every child the opportunity to receive education in health promoting schools by means of mobilizing all the management network to monitor and improve the physical and mental health of students, teachers and all other school staff, and inserting the idea of health promotion to the agenda of every school. The project was developed to strengthen the children’s ability to make correct health decisions in their future lives and improve their ability to act as individuals by helping them gain knowledge about healthy lifestyle and adopt related attitudes and behaviors in a healthy environment where they can motivate themselves by seeing what others do for being healthy, and by enabling them to become sensitive about the negative factors causing adverse effects on health. Moreover, the project also serves to strengthen the public support to health education given in schools.

Collaboration and partnerships

The Ministry of Health and Ankara University have jointly held a summit called the “Active and Healthy Aging Summit (Türkiye Aktif ve Sağlıklı Yaşlanma Zirvesi)”. In addition, a Survey on Active and Healthy Aging in Turkey was conducted and its results were compiled in a book.

Youth Centers operating in 81 provinces under the Ministry of Youth and Sports have been organizing seminars, conferences and informative meetings on the fight against drugs, in cooperation with the Green Crescent and Police Departments.

Based on the protocol signed between the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Family and Social Services (MoFSS) on 18.05.2015, studies are carried out in cooperation with MoFSS.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Family and Social Services (MoFSS), Sports Talent Screening is carried out in order to direct children (7-12 years old) under protection and care in institutions affiliated to the General Directorate of Child Services of the Ministry of Family and Social Services (MoFSS) to a sports field in line with their interests. At the same time, tournaments and championships are organized in various sports branches and children are provided to benefit from youth camps every year.

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

The Ministry of Youth and Sports is the principal public authority responsible for making sports widespread and organizing informal educations addressing youth health. The basic activities conducted by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to protect and improve youth health include organizing training activities to fight against addiction and adopt healthy lifestyles, and supporting the activities conducted by civil society organizations fighting against addiction. In 2016, the Ministry of Youth and Sports provided support to a total of 20 foundations and associations with regard to the protection of young people against drugs and harmful habits. The Ministry has provided 1 million 726 thousand Turkish lira financial support to 16 associations and 4 foundations conducting projects about fight against drugs in 14 provinces in the last two years. A total of 54 thousand 385 people from İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Edirne, Van, Diyarbakır, Çankırı, Elazığ, Aksaray, Nevşehir, Bingöl, Hakkari, Malatya and Bursa benefited from the supports provided. In addition, the Ministry also provided “Awareness Training on Fight against Addiction” through the seminars it organized for 1,803 trainers serving in the Central Anatolia, Mediterranean, Black Sea, and Eastern Anatolia Regions. Students participating in the summer camps of the Ministry also received training on fight against drugs.