A national survey was developed in order to assess the difficulties and the potential benefits that the adult Spanish population perceive when they try to eat a healthier diet and also to help nutrition educators to develop relevant and specific strategies to promote healthy eating.
The study survey was carried out according to an established protocol on a representative sample of 1009 Spanish subjects over 15 years of age selected by a multi-stage procedure. This study belongs to a partnership in a pan-European survey about food, nutrition and health. The analysis was focused on the evaluation of the seven most frequently chosen barriers and benefits.
There was a trend to select as the main barriers: ‘irregular work hours’ (29.7%), ‘willpower’ (29.7%) and ‘unappealing food’ (21.3%), while ‘prevent disease’ (73.6%) was the most frequently selected benefit to healthy eating. About 20% of the subjects said they did not have any difficulty eating healthier and most people believed that healthy eating was associated with at least one benefit.
In Spain, nutrition educators should be aware that an irregular and busy lifestyle, willpower and food-related factors (such as price and unappealing foods) are the main perceived barriers to healthy eating. Conversely, the prevention and health promotion aspects are the main perceived benefits.