From left: Representative of the Minister of Health, Dr Chris Isokpunwu; Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Nestles, Mrs Victoria Uwadoka; Lecturer, Department of Human Nutrition, University of Ibadan, Dr Rasaki Sanusi; representative of Secretary of FCT, Hajiya Hauwakulu Lawal; Director of Social Mobilization, Ogun State Universal Basic Education Board, Mrs Egunjobi Omotunde; and Marketing and Public Affairs Manager, Nestles, Mrs Gloria Nwabuike, during the inauguration of Nestles for Healthier Kids, in AbujaBy Emmanuel Afonne
The Federal Ministry of Education (FME) has endorsed the “Nestle for healthier kids manual” targeted at inculcating a healthy life style into school children from an early age.
The endorsement was made by the Minister of Education Malam Adamu Adamu on Thursday at the launch of the “Nestle for healthier kids programme” in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme, expected to commence in schools in Ogun State and some in the FCT and Abaji Area Council, will carter for about 17,000 kids in its pilot stage.
The minister, represented by Mrs Benedicta Okonkwo of the Dept of Basic and Secondary School, FME, said the manual was endorsed considering the fact that it was only a well fed child that would excel in school.
Adamu said the growth of children are stunted when they are malnourished, and as such could be backward in learning.
The Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole who was represented by Dr Chris Isokpunwu, Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, said children would live a healthy life when they eat healthy.
“The major problem in the country is unhealthy life style which leads to obesity, hypertension and so on; people no longer live to their old age.
“Most of the deaths in the country now occur because people don’t take care of their diet and life style. It is time to go back to our olden days of good life style.
“But it is necessary to start with children under five years, to inculcate a healthy style of living into them from an early beginning,” Adewole said.
He said that the school feeding programme of the federal government was part of effort to show the children the right kind of food to eat, even when at home.
The minister urged Nigerians to reduce their intake of carbonated drinks and drink more of clean water.
Mrs Victoria Uwadoka, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Manager, Nestle Plc said their global vision was to help over 50 million children have the right information and enjoy good nutrition and healthy life style to ensure a better future for them by 2030.
Uwadoka said: “This year we want to reach about 17,000 children with this nutrition education
“We are going to experiment this programme in Ogun State and in FCT, particularly in the Abaji Area Council.
“And we will have a monitoring and evaluation team that will be able to give us a monthly, quarterly and annual report on the programme. This will help us in spreading the programme to other states.”
Mrs Gloria Nwabuike, Marketing and Public Affairs Manager of the company said “Nestle for healthier kids programme” was launched globally on May 15 to mark the United Nations (UN) International Day of Families, but that it was being launched in Nigeria to increase the awareness of healthy living.
“Part of what we do is to train the teachers to enable them impact this nutrition education into the children, so that when they grow, they will practice the same healthier living to ensure that they grow and stay healthy.
“We also embarked on this school-based initiative having in mind that parents know that every day counts when it comes to preparing children for a bright and successful future,” Nwabuike said.
According to her, the company is aiming to build, share and apply nutrition knowledge as well as offer tastier food choices and inspire families to raise healthier kids.
The event saw the unveiling of the Nestle for healthier kids manual and the signing of the partnership certificate involving UBEB, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, as well as the Ministry of Health.