Health on the Way – Quito, Ecuador

Key Insights

  • Nutrition education and advice
  • Nutritional and health screening
  • Promoting vegetable and fruit consumption


Proliferation of Westernised eating habits and sedentary lifestyles have increased rates of overweight, obesity, and non-communicable diseases in Ecuador. As part of its commitment to develop a heathy territory, in 2015 the Metropolitan District of Quito introduced the Health on the Way (HOW) programme, consisting of 25 fixed and mobile stalls where residents could obtain free nutrition education and nutritional and health screening. Some of the stalls were co-located with food markets, where vegetable and fruit consumption is actively promoted. The stalls received steady traffic, with a total of 481,554 people visiting by the end of 2018, 34% of whom made multiple visits.


This case study version is from the Menu of Actions (2019). Suggested citation: Halliday, J., Platenkamp, L., Nicolarea, Y. (2019) A menu of actions to shape urban food systems for improved nutrition, GAIN, MUFPP and RUAF.

Fruit stall in Quito (Ecuador), Shutterstock/Clare Williams

The action and its aims

The Health on the Way (HOW) programme consists of 25 stalls around the city of Quito (10 fixed, 4 semi-fixed, 11 mobile) that provide free nutritional education and offer nutritional and health screening. Agreements are in place with municipal and organic markets, where some of the stalls take place and where consumption of fruit and vegetables is promoted. The programme is part of Quito’s Metropolitan Ordinance 0494 of February 2014, which establishes that the Municipality must contribute to developing a healthy territory by promoting and providing health promotion and protection programmes and services.

When it was introduced

HOW was introduced in 2015.

Why it was needed

The driver was the impact that proliferation of Westernised eating habits and sedentary lifestyles has had on rates of overweight, obesity, and non-communicable diseases.

Who initiated it, who is involved

The programme is run by the Municipality of the Metropolitan District of Quito (MMDQ). Nutritional education is delivered by trained nutritionists.

Impacts to date

As of December 2018, a total of 481,554 people had visited a HOW stall; 34% visited on more than one occasion. Between 2015 and 2018 205,450 people with overweight or obese status used the service; of the 47,758 who made repeat visits, 13% improved their nutritional status and 6.5% changed from overweight to normal. Among those who improved their nutritional status, 62.2% had increased their fruit and vegetable intake, 39.2% reduced alcohol consumption, 31% reduced tobacco use, and 14.6% increased physical activity.

More information: City of Quito, submitted for Milan Pact Awards 2017 (See ‘Further reading’).

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