Issues like under-nutrition and obesity affect billions of people across the world and often originate from a lack of awareness of healthy diets and lifestyles.
Because Nestlé believes that good dietary and lifestyle habits should be influenced from an early age, it launched The Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme in 2009 to help educate school-age children on nutrition and health.
The programme, developed together with a number of stakeholders, is customised in each country to meet local malnutrition challenges.
The Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme reached 7.6 million children in 2014 across 73 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, the Middle East and the Americas. It currently works with almost 300 partners consisting of local government authorities, leading universities, scientific institutions and child nutrition associations.
Take a look at how the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme is making a difference around the world.
Nigeria – education gardens in schools where children learn about vegetable-growing
Many Nigerians suffers from obesity and under-nutrition. In 2010, nearly 40 percent of children under the age of five were stunted due to micronutrient deficiency. The Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme has constructed educational gardens in primary schools to teach children how to grow their own vegetables and eat healthily. The programme encourages children to eat more indigenous fruits and vegetables, such as African spinach and African eggplant, as they are healthy, affordable and easily grown.
Brazil – providing children with individual nutrition guidance
Obesity in youngsters is a growing problem in Brazil, with almost 35 percent of children in 2008-2009 found to be overweight. Nestlé Brazil’s ‘Nutrir’ programme consists of nutrition education in schools and collaborations with NGOs to assess the nutritional status of children. Children at high risk, together with their parents, are provided personalised nutritional counseling and individual meal plans.
Malaysia – training school cafeteria cooks preparing healthy meals
Malaysia is facing a double-burden of nutrition – both obesity and undernourishment – amongst children. In addition to educating school children on the value of good nutrition and an active lifestyle, the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme in Malaysia trains food operators, responsible for preparing school meals, on nutrition. The training typically covers topics like basic nutrition, recipes for the easy preparation of healthy meals, and food safety and hygiene.
Lebanon – healthy eating lessons in the national school curriculum
Child obesity rates in Lebanon have doubled over the last decade. The Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme has become part of the health studies curriculum in Lebanese public schools to educate students on healthy eating and physical activity. A 2014 study by the American University of Beirut, funded by the Nestlé Healthy Kids Research Fund, showed improved diets, healthier eating habits and increased nutritional understanding among children who participated in the Nestlé programme.
Russia – helping families adopt good nutrition habits
To address low understanding of nutrition among Russian school children and their parents, Nestlé developed a ‘Good Nutrition’ programme to help families adopt good nutrition habits, such as regular consumption of fruits and vegetables. The programme teaches low-income families how to allocate budgets for buying healthier food and provides recipes for cooking affordable and healthy Russian food.
Australia – promoting an active lifestyle for kids
To tackle increasing childhood obesity rates and promote healthy eating and physical activity, the Australian Healthy Kids programme taps into the country’s natural passion for sports. The programme encourages children to get active via fun, non-competitive athletic programmes developed by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) and the Australian Institute of Sport.
Philippines – helping children understand nutritional labels on pack
The issue of under-nutrition in the Philippines has been a protracted issue over the last two decades. More than 30 percent of children aged six to ten are underweight. A high number of children in the same age bracket have stunted growth. The Nestlé Healthy Kids programme in the Philippines is teaching children to assess nutritional labels on ‘dummy packs’ in class, so they can make informed nutritional choices when buying and eating food.