Mar 26, 2015, updated March 2015
To address the dual problem of obesity and under-nutrition in Ghana, Nestlé launched its Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme to help children, families and teachers understand the basics of healthy lifestyles.
In 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that about 14% of children under the age of five in Ghana were underweight, 4% higher than the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal One target of 10% for 2015.
Worryingly, the issue of obesity has affected nearly 12% of women above the age of 20 in the country, according to 2008 figures by the WHO. Men are slightly less at risk with almost 5% suffering from the condition in the same age range and time period.
To tackle these challenges, the company launched its Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme in Ghana in 2011 to boost nutrition education and physical activity to children aged six to 12.
The initiative aims to enhance the diets of youngsters and promote exercise by educating and engaging with school children, teachers, District Education officials, school cooks and canteen staff at schools based near Nestlé’s operations.
As part of the programme, Nestlé is working with the Ministry of Education in Ghana (Ghana Education Service) to help increase nutrition education awareness to children and their families.
The company has also partnered with the Nutrition and Food Science department at the University of Ghana to provide teachers with training on the programme.
Each child is given a Nestlé Healthy Kids reader, food models and play kits to use in their 45-minute lesson each week.
Nestlé Healthy Kids instructor manuals are provided to teachers to help in the classroom.
The Ghanaian Education Service Curriculum Research and Development Division reviews the programme’s content regularly.
To develop the physical activity side of the initiative, children take part in one physical activity class each week.
Nestlé has also implemented its Kids Athletics Programme through the Ghana Athletics Association, the local entity that is working with the IAAF.
In 2014, the University of Ghana carried out its first monitoring and evaluation of the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme. It concluded that the initiative is proving effective in improving the overall nutrition knowledge and behaviour of participating children.
Value to Society
To date, the Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme in Ghana has reached over 10,000 children and 360 teachers since it was launched in 2011.
A total of 27 schools in the country have received Nestlé Healthy Kids teaching and learning materials since the initiative was launched.
Nestlé and the University of Ghana regularly monitor the schoolchildren, teachers and school staff on their knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards healthy eating habits and exercise.
Value to Nestlé
The programme establishes a global competitive advantage and demonstrates Nestlé’s commitment to address health issues globally. It also has a positive impact on Nestlé’s reputation as a leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company.
The Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme in Ghana will be scaled up to reach more schools and benefit more children.
As part of the initiative, a parent module is included to enhance and change the nutritional behaviour of students.