Nestlé Equatorial African Region, in partnership with the Ministry of Education today launched a unique nutrition education program targeting lower primary school children. ‘Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme’ in Kenya, launched at St. Georges Primary School, is aimed at improving the nutrition knowledge and promoting healthy lifestyles among school children aged between 6-10 years, through the teaching of healthy eating, encouraging physical activity and other key health measures such as hygiene.
According to the Nestlé (EAR) CEO Pierre Trouilhat, the ‘Healthy Kids Programme’ in Kenya, is informed by research conducted on nutrition and physical activity among children at the lower primary school level. The baseline survey showed that an early inclusion of healthy nutrition teaching Programmes into primary schools curriculum and into other levels of formal and informal education can improve knowledge and bring behavioral changes associated with eating habits.
“Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme, is a global initiative, and by the end of 2011, there were 65 programmes operating in 60 countries and another 21 are in the pipeline for 2012 to 2014. Nestlé reached more than six million children all across the globe in 2011 through this programme. We acknowledge the diverse needs of school going children across different markets, hence the need to tailor this global programme to suit the needs of school going children in Kenya. This research identified education and awareness as key area of concern, and we are pleased that the Ministry of Education and the Kenya Institute of Education are partnering with us for the successful implementation of this programme” said Pierre Trouilhat.
While launching the programme, the Assistant Minister for Education Hon. Andrew Calist Mwatela said that there is indeed a need for the provision of good conditions for optimal development of children. He said that most of the lifestyle diseases that are affecting people today can be traced back to childhood eating habits.
“Cases of under nutrition and over nutrition among school going children are rampant, in turn negatively affecting education performance of our children. While it is true that parents have the responsibility of teaching their children about healthy diet, this role may be challenged by lack of proper information and also busy lifestyles,” said Hon. Mwatela, adding that schools must actively take up this role to ensure that the wide knowledge gap that exists in the area of nutrition and healthy eating is filled.
‘Nestlé Healthy Kids programme’ has been aligned to the current school curriculum, and provides essential teaching materials including posters, flash cards and interactive games, which helps teachers involve the children in interactive learning about healthy eating, physical exercise, hygiene and sanitation.
Fifteen schools in Nairobi will be participating in the implementation of the pilot phase, involving 3500 children, and it will later be adapted to other schools across the country.