This Supplement of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition includes certain sessions of interest which were presented at the joint V Congress of the Spanish Society for Community Nutrition and the III Ibero-American Congress on Nutrition and Public Health, held in Madrid (Spain) from 26 to 29 September 2002.

The Spanish Society for Community Nutrition (SENC) is one of the leading nutrition societies in Spain. It was created in 1989 with the ultimate goal of ameliorating unhealthy food habits in Spain as well as promoting population based nutrition studies, nutrition objectives and dietary guidelines. Additionally, it aims to foster the implementation of nutrition intervention programmes in the community, to contribute to the training of health professionals in nutrition fields and to exchange experiences with other societies and associations, particularly in Latin America. Since 1995, it has published the Journal of the Spanish Society for Community Nutrition and from 2000 onwards, has produced the SENC web page (

The V Congress, cosponsored by the World Health Organization, officially recognised as a health event of interest by the Spanish Ministry of Health and Consumption, and supported by a grant from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and various health sector companies, convened renowned experts from Spain, Europe, Latin America and the USA. The Congress consisted of meetings, symposiums, special sessions and 16 round tables. Additionally, contents included the III Ibero-American Congress, pre-Congress workshops, the presentation of more than 200 oral and poster communications and the launch of three new food and nutrition books. All these events contributed to a high-level exchange of knowledge, experiences and projects during this scientific meeting.

Due to the interest generated, a select number of sessions were chosen from this wide variety of topics to be highlighted in this supplement, and they are presented here in the following subject areas: Foods and Health, Diet and cardiovascular diseases, Nutrition in infants, children and adolescents, Nutrition and functionality, Nutritional deficiencies and enrichment resources, Community nutrition and nutrition education.

Acknowledgements are made to Drs Javier Aranceta Bartrina, Ana M López Sobaler and Ana M Requejo Marcos for their participation in the organisation of the Congress and their valuable collaboration in the preparation of this supplement. Special thanks are also given to the other members comprising the Organising and Scientific Committees. The support of the Ministry of Health and Consumption, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, the University Complutense, University Alfonso X el Sabio and the City Hall of Madrid, along with the cosponsorship of the World Health Organization are also gratefully acknowledged.

Nutrition in Spain is, without a doubt, achieving considerable status and projection at the international level. Public Health Nutrition, in particular, has situated our country among those that are most active in developing actions involving the promotion of healthy nutrition, despite the often frequent lack of support or interest from central or regional governments. However, most of the actions are written in Spanish, so this issue will help to better understand the Spanish initiatives around nutrition and public health by European researchers.

It is critical that Spanish health authorities make community nutrition and obesity genuine priorities on their political agendas. The favourable health indicators Spain was privileged enough to enjoy a few decades ago, so reflective of Mediterranean countries, are deteriorating as a consequence of this excessive confidence in past benefits.

We are confident that the contents of this special issue of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition will contribute to meeting SENC's objectives, and will be of interest for those of us in Europe working for and towards the progress of community and clinical nutrition.

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Ortega, R., Serra-Majem, L. Foreword. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, S1 (2003).

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