Apr 1, 2015, updated April 2015
The Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme was launched in Nigeria in 2011 to teach children, parents, teachers and school staff about nutrition education and promote physical activity.
The initiative aims to tackle prevalent health problems such as obesity and under-nutrition. In 2010, nearly 40% of children under the age of five were stunted, according to the World Health Organization.
This may be a result of under-nutrition, in which the absence of vital micronutrients such as vitamin A, zinc, iron or iodine can cause stunting in growth and a lower resistance to infection.
To address this, Nestlé launched its Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme in Nigeria in 2011 aimed at schoolchildren aged six to 12.
Focusing on nutrition education and physical activity, the programme looks to reach children, parents, teachers, school cooks, canteen staff and other school members in the Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Ondo states.
In line with the National Nutrition Education Curriculum for primary schools in the country, each child is given a Nestlé Healthy Kids manual, food models and play kits to use in their 45-minute lesson each week.
Nestlé Healthy Kids instructor manuals are also provided to teachers to help in the classroom.
The company is working with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health in the country as part of its efforts to boost nutrition education.
The programme’s content is backed by the Nutrition Society of Nigeria and is in line with the National Guidelines on Food and Nutrition.
As part of the initiative, Nestlé is also working with the Nigerian Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Ondo State governments, the Centre for Health Education, Population and Nutrition (CHEPON), and the State Universal Basic Education Board in Nigeria.
To further develop the programme’s physical activity side, Nestlé is working with the Ministry of Sports.
It also teamed up with its global partner the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in Nigeria in 2013, and the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), to enhance the initiative and promote athletics in schools.
In the same year, Nestlé carried out its first monitoring and evaluation on the programme with the Human Nutrition Department at the University of Ibadan.
Results revealed that participating schoolchildren significantly improved their eating habits and physical activity behaviour.
It showed that schools boosted nutrition education in the classroom to help their students develop healthy lifestyles. For example, children brought fruit to school as part of a weekly ‘fruits day’ organised by some of the schools.
At home, parents and family members actively supported and reinforced the programme by requesting their own Healthy Kids manual after seeing the benefits of the children’s manual.
In 2014, the first Nestlé Healthy Kids Parent-Child Nutrition Workshop was organised to reaffirm healthy lifestyles messages to families and communities.
A Nestlé Healthy Kids interschool competition also took place in the same year to extend the messages to children.
Value to Society
A total of 62,483 children and 807 teachers and monitors in Nigeria have been impacted since the programme was launched in 2011.
About 112 schools in Nigeria received Nestlé Healthy Kids teaching and learning materials in the same period.
Value to Nestlé
The programme establishes a global competitive advantage and demonstrates Nestlé’s commitment to address health issues globally; and has a positive impact on Nestlé’s reputation as a leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company.
Nestlé aims to develop the programme from a school education focus to a ‘systems’ approach.
As a result, school nutrition policies, school food services, family and community involvement in nutrition education will aim to empower children to make healthy dietary decisions now and in the future.