Boosting nutrition education and physical activity in Africa

The Central and West Africa Region has not been left untouched by the increasing burden of under-nutrition, which is affecting developing countries worldwide.

To help ameliorate the dire situation, Nestlé, the world’s leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company, officially launched its Healthy Kids Global Programme in 2009, part of concerted efforts to improve children’s dietary habits.

The initiative focuses on nutrition education, good nutritional practices, healthy lifestyles, and physical activity among school children, with the help of national and international partnerships.

The programme acknowledges the negative impact the deficiency in essential food nutrients such as vitamin A, Zinc, Iron or Iodine can have on the growth of children. These include stunted growth, a reduced intelligence quotient, and a lower resistance to infection. Statistics show that about one third of children in West Africa are stunted in growth, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The FAO has also highlighted that malnutrition is one of the main causes of high mortality rates in the sub-region.

Two years after the Healthy Kids Global Programme was first launched, Nestlé extended the initiative to Central and West Africa. As part of the programme, the company is supporting the Ministries of Education in Ghana and Nigeria in an effort to put nutrition training and physical activity on the learning agenda of basic schools.