The aim of this article is to compare the development of health education in Italy and Spain from the point of view of the role played by medical anthropology in both countries. The context is provided by the changes in the concept of health education advocated by the UN technical agencies, especially the World Health Organization and Unesco, during the second half of the twentieth century. Despite their many similarities, Italy and Spain underwent different political evolutions over the last century. Therefore, it is interesting to compare both cases and the influence the social sciences had in health education initiatives. In order to assess the role of medical anthropology, the 1958 launch and the development of the Centro Sperimentale per l'Educazione Sanitaria (Perugia, Italy), which was at the forefront of health education in Europe until the 1990s, was reconstructed through oral sources. After a brief description of the scant initiatives regarding health education existing in the Spain of the dictatorship, the influence of the Perusine anthropologists on Spanish health education during the democratic transition is evaluated.