The Decree-Law no. 14/2011, of December 29th, approved by The Ministry of Health’s structured and strengthened the authority of the Directorate-General of Health (DGS); the latter is now responsible for the monitoring of the Ministry of Health’s policies and programmes. By Dispatch of the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Health, dated January 3rd, 2012, the following eight priority programmes were approved for development by DGS:
- National Programme for Diabetes;
- National Programme for HIV/AIDS;
- National Programme for the Prevention of Smoking and Tobacco Control;
- National Programme for the Promotion of Healthy Eating (PNPAS);
- National Programme for Mental Health;
- National Programme for Oncological Diseases;
- National Programme for Respiratory Diseases;
- National Programme for Cerebro-cardiovascular Diseases.
When developing PNPAS several guidelines and strategies were integrated: those proposed by the WHO and the European Union (DG SANTÉ, formerly DG SANCO), resulting from the Portuguese experience in work groups such as the European Commission’s High Level Group on Nutrition and Physical Activity; the experience achieved by developing different national proposals since 1976, that led to the creation of the Platform Against Obesity; the vast experience of two countries – Norway and Brazil – in the implementation of policies and strategic measured in the field of nutrition; and the public hearing, set by the DGS, to consult stakeholders, which has contributed significantly to the final improvement of the strategy.
The National Programme for the Promotion of Healthy Eating (PNPAS) aims to improve the nutritional status of the population, encouraging physical and economic availability of foods that make up a healthy eating pattern and to create the conditions so that the population values, appreciates and eats them, integrating them into their daily routine.
An adequate food intake and the consequent improve of citizens’ nutritional status has a direct impact in the prevention and control of the most prevalent diseases at national level (cardiovascular and oncological diseases, diabetes and obesity) but should simultaneously allow for the economic growth and competitiveness of the country in other sector such as those connected to agriculture, environment, tourism, employment or professional qualification.