As part of its global ambition to help 50 million children live healthier lives, Nestlé is committed to its purpose of “enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future”. The company believes that by further decreasing sugars, sodium and saturated fat in our foods and beverages, we can improve health outcomes and decrease non-communicable diseases ( NCDs).
Our efforts and activities focus on the importance of this year’s World Heart Day on September 29, which highlights the stark reality that heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death globally, claiming over 17 million lives each year.
According to the WHO, most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioural risk factors, which include unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity.
In Nestlé Central and West Africa, we are contributing to address this by helping individuals and families to make tastier and healthier choices by educating consumers on nutrition and salt reduction and by promoting physical activity.
Tastier and healthier choices
As a company, Nestlé promotes healthy cooking, eating and lifestyles by promoting home cooking and healthy meals with vegetables through our Maggi portfolio.
As a popular staple in many African households, in which over 65 million fortified servings were sold in the region last year alone, Maggi is already providing home cooks with healthier and tastier choices by simplifying ingredients, reducing salt and increasing micronutrient fortification. This forms part of our global commitment to salt reduction.
For example, the use of a serving of two Maggi tablets (or five cubes) in a dish for six people is the equivalent to 1.8g of salt per person – or 30% of the World Health Organization’s 5g recommended daily salt intake. Each serving further provides 30% of the recommended daily allowance of iodine and 15% of the recommended daily allowance of iron.
Earlier this year, we also announced our Maggi ‘Simply Good’ pledge towards 2020. As part of Maggi Simply Good commitments, we are reducing the salt content by 22% in our Maggi tablets and cubes in the region, now available on shop shelves in Senegal.
Families can try easy recipes for healthy and tasty everyday home cooking which are illustrated on our packaging and on our online platforms, while local events such as the Maggi Cooking Caravans are teaching women traders and families how to cook healthily on a budget and reduce food waste.
In 2015, we launched an online education campaign on salt reduction, ‘Healthy Living Africa. About 11 million people learnt how to cut salt in their diets, through our social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. They were provided with a different theme each week via simple messages, videos and hashtags, such as #DidYouKnow and #HealthyLivingAfrica.
In the same year, in Cameroon, we launched an education programme where individuals were given an insight into the health risks of excessive salt consumption through our salt campaign as mobile caravans travelled across the country, community health workers went door-to-door to raise awareness, TV and radio programmes were broadcast, and posters were displayed in urban areas and healthcare centres.
Cameroonians also took part in workshops on non-communicable diseases to help improve their diets, as part of our partnership with the Ministry of Cameroon since 2010.
Through such initiatives, millions of Africans across Central and West Africa are able to fight against the rising rates of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes by eating healthier diets and embracing active lifestyles.
These initiatives help to demonstrate our three long-term ambitions and 42 commitments – in support of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) – set out in the report ‘Nestlé in society: Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments 2016’.
Fostering Healthy Behaviours in Children
Nestlé empowers parents, caregivers and teachers to foster healthy behaviours in children through its nutrition education programme.
In Central and West Africa, we work with our partners, universities and the Ministries of Health and Education in each country to implement this non- branded nutrition education programme. About 82,000 children and 1,200 teachers in the region have benefited so far. We aim to help 100,000 children by 2018 adopt health diets and lifestyles.
Promoting physical activity
Thousands of young people in Central and West Africa are also enjoying a healthier lifestyle by taking part in sports activities supported through our brand Milo.
Over 36,000 children from 2,000 schools across in Ghana have taken part in our Milo Champions League, organised in collaboration with Ghana Education Services and with backing from the Ghana Football Association. While in Nigeria, more than 60,000 children took part in the annual Milo Secondary Basketball Championship in 2015, and a new Milo mother and child cross-country was launched in Côte d’Ivoire in the same year.
Guided by our values, and with nutrition at our core, we work alongside partners to offer individuals and families products, services and knowledge that enhance the quality of life and contribute to a healthier future.
Read more about our commitment to promoting healthy cooking, eating and lifestyles in the Nestlé in society global report 2016 (English PDF).