December 01, 2022

EUPAP in Catalonia (Spain) – a boost for professionals working with physical activity on prescription (PAP)

The National Institute of Physical Education in Catalonia (INEFC) in Lleida is leading the practice transfer of the Swedish PAP into the Catalan context, that is, the primary health-care settings.

INEFC is the tertiary education and research organisation in the field of physical activity and sports, managed by the Catalan Government by its Secretary of Sport and Physical Activity. With 40 years of experience in education and research, INEFC has participated in local, regional, national and international projects with physical activity on prescription.

The main reason to join the EUPAP Project was to bridge the gap between theory (academia) and practice (labour market). To do so, a Catalan network of selected stakeholders has been established, and regular communication with other Spanish stakeholders is ongoing. The EUPAP-Cat network includes:

Other organisations that have been participating in meetings, invited EUPAP representatives for joint actions, or similar, include:

The PAP-S method is adapted to the Catalan context as follows:

PAP-S Method

Patient-centred individualised counselling

Delivered in public primary healthcare settings

Written prescription

Written referral by medical doctors (family physicians) or community nurses. Also, by other allied health professionals (i.e., dietitians, psychologists, social workers, physiotherapists)

Physical activity prescription (dose) by EUPAP-coaches (physical educators).

Evidence based PA recommendation

FYSS Manual in English, Catalan Guidelines on Exercise Prescription


The individual prescription is delivered and monitored regularly (counselling). It may include supervised exercising by third parties and it is always a more intensive approach than a simple advice only.

Supporting environment, community-based network

Health assets

Networking with local stakeholders

As of October 2022, EUPAP-Cat is implemented in eight primary healthcare settings in four cities/towns covering a population of 178 913 people.  Six physical educators work as freelance and deliver EUPAP-Cat along with 63 health professionals (29 per cent of the total staffed) who have referred over 400 patients.

During COVID-19 lockdown and strict measures between March 2020 and 2021, EUPAP-Cat adapted to the new situation and EUPAP-coaches stepped aside and provided help as COVID-trackers at the beginning of the first wave.  A total of 74 per cent of the active participants wanted to continue exercising by receiving counselling. EUPAP-coaches edited more than 7 hours of videos and an internal database of exercise pictures for individual counselling (not for public use).

The Catalan Health Ministry assigned the EUPAP coordination team the edition of a series of videos to promote healthy exercising for the general population that were published on YouTube channels, titled: Tens 15 minuts per a tu? [“Have you got 15 minutes for yourself?], and T’animes a córrer? [“Are you up for jogging?”].

Lessons learned from the EUPAP-Cat implementation launched the organisation of educational programmes included in the BSc Degree in Sport Sciences (INEFC), Summer School Courses (University of Lleida) and lifelong education courses for exercise scientists (National Sports Council, Ministry of Culture and Sport, Spain).

All the work that is done, is expected to provide a solid environment for EUPAP-coaches to work together with health professionals who are supported by the public and private stakeholders (e.g., Next Generation EU funds)

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