A Critical Review of Obesity in Healthcare Systems in Brazil and Portugal: Pathways, Guidelines and Strategies

Luciane da Graça da Costa1, *, Adriana Aparecida de Oliveira Barbosa1, Thabata Koester Weber2, Flora Correia3, Isabel Monteiro4, Maria Rita Marques de Oliveira2
1 The Graduate Program in Food Science and Nutrition, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Araraquara, São Paulo, Brazil
2 Department of Human Sciences and Nutrition and Food Sciences, Institute of Biosciences, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil
3 Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Investigator in Infections and Nephrological Diseases University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
4 University Institute of Health Sciences and Senior Nutrition Advisor at ACeS Porto Ocidental - ARS Norte – IP, Porto, Portugal

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 84
Abstract HTML Views: 17
PDF Downloads: 0
Total Views/Downloads: 101
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 67
Abstract HTML Views: 14
PDF Downloads: 0
Total Views/Downloads: 81

Creative Commons License
© 2021 da Graça da Costa et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at Department of Food and Nutrition, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Araraquara, São Paulo, Brazil; Tel: +55 61 99397-4141, E-mail:



Obesity and its associated diseases in the 21st century has led to new public policies with international commitments.


The objective of this review was to examine public initiatives and policies to tackle obesity in Brazil and Portugal over the past two decades, identifying frameworks, guidelines and strategic actions.


Official documents Brazilian and Portuguese public health policies were analyzed for international guidelines from 1999 to 2019. The documents were organized and analyzed by date. Additionally, they were evaluated for frameworks and actions proposed for individuals, communities, and the population across all levels of healthcare.


This study shows that Portugal and Brazil have taken different paths when it comes to the creation and implementation of their strategies to manage obesity. In Brazil, actions aimed at promoting healthy eating have been introduced to children and are implemented by many government agencies. Portugal, on the other hand, has provided greater access to individualized healthcare services and has involved different sectors in addressing these issues.

Keywords: Overweight, Primary health care, Healthy eating, Health care, Health policy, Brazil, Portugal.