The Spanish Food Safety Agency, which was established in 2001 with the main objective of promoting food safety, changed its name to the Food Safety and Nutrition Agency in 2006 and extended its field of action to include the promotion of health in relation to nutrition and especially issues related to the prevention of obesity.
In order to achieve this purpose, a number of actions have been implemented, including the NAOS strategy, Observatory of Nutrition and Study of Obesity and the Perseo Programme.
NAOS Strategy. Strategy for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention
In 2005, the NAOS Strategy (Strategy for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention) was launched by the Ministry of Health and Consumer Affairs, through the Spanish Food Safety and Nutrition Agency (AESAN) with the aim of raising awareness of the problem that obesity poses to health and encouraging initiatives that contribute to ensuring that citizens, especially children and young people, adopt healthy lifestyles, mainly through healthy eating habits and regular exercise.
The NAOS Strategy is intended to serve as a platform encompassing all actions aimed at achieving this objective by integrating the efforts and attracting the widest possible participation of all the elements of society, the Public Administrations, experts in these issues, private sector companies, consumers and the entire population. Consequently, the scope and fields of action and influence of the NAOS strategy are many: family, school environment, businesses and healthcare.
Observatory of Nutrition and of the Study of Obesity
The Observatory of Nutrition and of the Study of Obesity, created by means of the Council of Ministers’ Agreement on 18 January 2013, in accordance with Law 17/2011 on food safety and nutrition, as a collegiate body attached to the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality through the AESAN, is an information system for determining the situation of obesity in Spain, which aims to provide a dynamic platform able to offer, produce, collect and put together data and evidence about nutrition, physical exercise, overweight and obesity and their underlying causes, as well as acting as a meeting point between the different public administrations, institutions, associations or organisations from all spheres to which the objectives of the NAOS Strategy are relevant.
PERSEO Programme. Pilot school health and exercise programme to prevent obesity
The PERSEO programme is based on the knowledge of the habits that are formed during the first years of life and on the conviction that schools are excellent venues to develop education and health-related promotions. The main objective of the programme is to promote the acquisition of healthy eating habits and encourage schoolchildren to do exercise on a regular basis to prevent obesity and other diseases. This program consists of a set of simple actions performed at schools and aimed at students aged 6 to 10. It also involves families and operates simultaneously in the refectory and in the school environment to promote the choice of healthier options.