The development of nutritional policies aiming to contribute to the improvement of the Portuguese population health depends upon updated and quality data on food consumption and eating habits.
This information can be indirectly obtained:
- 1) Through the Portuguese Food Balance Sheets, from the National Institute of Statistics, which allow to estimate the food availability per capita and its evolution in Portugal, through the calculation of national variations in exports, imports and production of food products.
- 2) Through the Family Budget Survey, developed by the National Institute of Statistics, which evaluates the acquisition of food in a representative sample of households in the country.
The direct assessment can be performed through National Food Surveys and implies the observation of the regular food consumption of representative population groups.
The first National Food Survey was carried out in 1980, by the Center of Nutrition Studies of the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), with the collaboration of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
The National Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey reborns now through a Consortium.
This working group will develop an Information System to monitor food consumption and behaviors (including nutritional dimensions of food security and insecurity) and physical activity. It will also help to establish the relationship between these dimensions with other determinants of health, including socioeconomic determinants.