Nestlé has introduced its ‘Healthy Hydration’ initiative, which is aimed at promoting adequate water consumption as part of a healthy balanced diet to selected primary schools in seven districts of Ghana.
The initiative, which was launched by the Nestlé Group in 2009, follows research showing that two thirds of children arrive at school under-hydrated, a development which can impact negatively on their health.
The ‘Healthy Hydration’ initiative provides six educative tools targeting children from six to twelve years, helping them to appreciate the benefits of drinking water to maintain optimal health.
It exposes them to the importance of water in the digestion process, the control of body temperature, transport of nutrients from one part of the body to the other, and helping to remove waste from the body.
Scaling up awareness on Healthy Hydration
Its introduction in Ghana is to make hydration a component of the Healthy Kids Global Programme, which is being implemented in Ghana since 2011 and designed to raise nutrition and health knowledge and to promote physical activity among school-age children.
Currently underway in five regions of Ghana – Ashanti, Central, Eastern, Western, and Northern – the Healthy Kids programme benefits more than 10, 000 pupils.
Both initiatives complement the Nestlé Group’s efforts to be part of the solution to help families, including school systems, to improve their Nutrition, Health and Wellness.
Trainings for teachers and pupils
Meanwhile, Nestlé Ghana is conducting a training programme for the beneficiary teachers and pupils in the Afram Plains North, Bodi, Juaboso, Agona East, Adansi North and South, as well as Savelugu Nanton districts.
The training sessions, which involve multi-partnerships with the Nutrition and Food Science Department of the University of Ghana and the Ghana Education Service, utilizes child-centered communicative strategies such as drama, quizzes and games to teach children the benefits of drinking water and maintaining healthy hydration.
The Ghana Education Service (GES) is the official implementer of both initiatives, while the academics of the University of Ghana handle training for teachers.
IAAF/ Nestlé Kids’ Athletics
As part of the company’s commitment to expand the scope of the Healthy Kids Global Programme, it teamed up with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and the Ghana Athletics Association (GAA) to introduce the ‘Kids’ Athletics’ initiative in the country in 2013. Considered the first grassroot sports programme in Ghana, the Kids’ Athletics initiative is expected to benefit over 200, 000 kids in its first year alone of the expected four-year roll out.
The Healthy Kids Global Programme has had an impact in inculcating healthy dietary habits into the kids making them more meaningful participants in their respective communities. Researchers of the University of Ghana are in the process of concluding their evaluation which will serve as the spring board to enable Nestlé to expand the programmes to other parts of the country over the next several years.