SIMETRIA – Projeto de Promoção de Igualdade Nutricional e Social


Public Health Initiatives Programme EEA Grants (European Economic Area) 1st Area: Decrease inequalities on nutrition




Project 220 NU4



Edite Silva, Liga Portuguesa de Profilaxia Social (Porto, Portugal)



CIIE/Faculdade de Psicologia e Ciências da Educação da Universidade do Porto (Porto)
Santa Casa da Misericórdia da Maia (Maia)
Centro Paroquial de Promoção Social Rainha Santa Mafalda (Arouca)



Pedro D. Ferreira
Sofia Castanheira Pais
Daniel Lino
Isabel Menezes
Joana Pereira
Norberto Ribeiro
Pedro Moreira
Rita Azevedo



14 meses
1-3-2015 – 30-04-2016


Página Web



During the past decades several national, European and international organizations have been recognizing obesity, as well as other health concerns related to improper eating habits and life styles, as a priority areas for intervention in Public Health promotion initiatives.

Besides their impact on mortality and morbility, another demonstrated longer term consequence of the emergence of obesity is its implication at the social and economic levels (Robertson, Malberg & Brunner, 2008). At the same time, several studies have shown that the prevalence of obesity is higher in populations who are more vulnerable social and economically (Carmo et al., 2008). This evidence has supported the debate and discussion around the issues of social inequality and the access to a healthy diet, being currently recognized that any proposed intervention strategy must address this issue (White, Adams & Heywood, 2009).

In this regard, Simetria aims to:

  1. Enabling professionals (approximately 300) – social workers, health professionals and other professionals acting in socially and economically vulnerable contexts – through training to implement and monitor educational actions and programs directed at poor and low income families, people in situation of unemployment, beneficiaries of basic income grants, older people, among other vulnerable populations. The training dimension is central to the project and it is recognized as an effective way of consolidating knowledge and developing creative strategies that can support the resolution of day-to-day problems faced by dis-empowered groups;
  2. Improving the institutional and professional practices (4 reference organizations) in areas such as food security and equality in access to an healthy diet through the systematic and close work of a multidisciplinary consulting team working directly with the professionals in these organizations working directly with vulnerable populations. This work will aim at creating processes of recognizing and transforming their practices with the goal of actively reducing the social and nutritional inequalities faced by these populations. This is an innovative dimension of the project and it will follow an integrated model of consultancy as described by Parent and Bégin (2010).


This means that the proposed activities focus, on one hand, in the certified training of professionals and, on the other hand, in the creation of a consultancy service capable of supporting organizations and trainees in creating local and contextually adequate strategies that can promote healthier eating habits. As such, the main direct beneficiaries of this initiative are social support or health professionals. Indirectly, this project will impact the populations served by the organizations in which these professionals work and through this contribute to the reduction of social and nutritional inequalities of various vulnerable groups (unemployed and beneficiaries of basic income grants, children and youth at risk, older people, among others).

The expected results of the project are:

  • Improvements on knowledge and skills of professionals in terms of nutritional and health inequalities;
  • Changes in local practices in context supported and identified by teams of consultants, trainers and professionals;
  • Sharing of practices that can become fruitful examples and illustrations to other professionals and organizations in other contexts;
  • Gaining and consolidation of knowledge by the vulnerable populations which can facilitate better diet habits supported by the changes implemented by the professional at the level of the organizations and services working with them;
  • An increased social and political recognition of nutritional and social inequality issues as a priority to take into account by other entities, professionals and volunteers in their action