By The Nation
The Thai programme is part of the company’s "Healthy Kids Global Programme" to raise nutrition and health knowledge and promote physical activity among school-age children around the world.
Healthy Kids programmes are based on multi-partnership approaches, with the Switzerland-based group working with almost 300 partners worldwide, including national and local governments, NGOs, health nutrition institutes and sport federations.
At the global level, Healthy Kids partners with the EPODE International Network and the International Association of Athletics Federation to support the development of the programme.
As of last month, Nestle was actively working with close to 300 partners to deliver the "Healthy Kids Global Programme" in 80 countries, up from 73 in 2014.
These efforts increase children’s basic knowledge of the importance of nutrition and physical activity, and have reached around 8 million children so far.
The key to the programme’s success is the quality of the expert teams who develop the educational materials and curricula to meet the specific needs of local communities.
The company has developed stricter participation criteria because it knows the programmes work best when children take part regularly.
The company has also improved the way it evaluates their impact and will focus on ensuring that the programmes positively highlight nutrition and health knowledge, attitude and behaviour of the children.
In Thailand, Kanokthip Prinyarnussorn, corporate communication and PR group manager at Nestle (Thai) and the programme leader, said that food and nutrition play a key role in improving the health and well-being of people of all ages.
Changing lifestyles leads Thai people towards developing inappropriate eating habits. They do not eat enough fruits and vegetables and prefer food with too much salt, sugar and fat, while they also exercise less, she said, adding that this results in many chronic health conditions, often referred to as ‘lifestyle diseases’.
Nestle believes in the importance of establishing the right foundation for good health at a young age by promoting health and nutrition knowledge and encourage children to be physically active, which will enhance a child’s physical, emotional and cognitive growth.
Research on children’s health shows that Thai children have the risks of both insufficient nutrient intake and a significant increase of overweight.
In 2004, Nestle, in collaboration with the Health Department, the Food and Drug Administration, the Public Health Ministry and the Office of Basic Education Commission, launched the "Healthy Thai Kids" programme to drive a health-promotion mission.
It aims to raise awareness and provide education about nutrition and healthy living among key influencers such as parents, teachers and communities, who play a major role in promoting good nutrition, health and wellness for children, she explained.
Under this collaboration, Nestle has developed ‘edutainment’ materials covering nutrition and exercise that are fun and easy for schoolchildren aged six to 12 to understand.
The materials feature concepts such as Read the label; Adjust your behaviour to eat five food groups (especially more fruits and vegetables); Move your body to burn what you eat; and Avoid food that is too salty, oily or sweet.
Children are encouraged to change their habits and make their daily routines healthier.
Nestle has continually rolled out activities to enhance the programme, such as teacher seminars, "Healthy Thai Kids Day" and the "Winning Good Health Within 8 Weeks Mission" among 150 participating schools.
The programme has carried out pre- and post-activity tests to measure children’s attitudes and behaviours.
The key success is that many now know and understand more about proper eating. Most importantly, these children have made positive changes to their eating habits, consuming less salt, sugar and oils, and eating a greater variety of vegetables, said Kanokthip.
Over the past 10 years, Nestle Thailand has donated 23,000 sets of teaching materials to more than 13,000 schools and reached over 1.6 million school children nationwide through the "Healthy Thai Kids" programme.
It has become a role model of health promotion under the "Nestle Global Healthy Kids Programme", which aims to increase nutrition and health knowledge and promote physical activity to school-age children worldwide, including in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Australia.
Last week, Nestle reinforced its commitment to promoting proper nutrition and good health for Thai children by highlighting the achievements of its sustainable "Healthy Thai Kids" programme.
At a seminar titled "Nestle Joins Forces to Enable Good Nutrition and Good Health for Thai Kids" – held to celebrate the auspicious occasion of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s fifth-circle birthday – a Nestle booth featured various edutainment activities such as the "Healthy Thai Kids" programme, "Healthy Family Caravan" and school sports activities to promote a balanced diet and active lifestyles and how to read a nutrition label to make informed choices.
The event took place on the fifth floor of the Royal Siam Paragon shopping mall.
"Nestle is committed to continuously develop tasty and nutritious food and beverage products, together with providing knowledge and understanding about balanced diet and healthy lifestyles. This reflects Nestle’s commitment in ‘Good Food, Good Life’ to improve health and quality of life for all Thai consumers," said Kanokthip.