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Nestlé Targets Parents in New Nutrition Education Drive

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Nestlé has unveiled a plan to engage parents in nutrition education and encourage them to help their kids to be physically active, as the company scales up its effort to help Kenya address rising nutrition issues including undernutrition and obesity.

The company on Friday announced the introduction of a new aspect to its Healthy Kids Programme (HKP) locally dubbed “Parents and Guardians Nutrition Training.” The new aspect is initially aimed at reaching the parents, caregivers and guardians of the 420, 000 children who are currently part of the HKP programme in Nairobi, Nyeri, Murang’a, Kiambu, Kakamega, Embu and Kirinyaga Counties before being rolled out nationwide.

“We have decided to loop in the parents as critical stakeholders in the nutrition education agenda and the decision makers who often choose what is available for the children to eat or drink. The parents and guardians’ nutrition training programme will augment the current teachers and kids training which has achieved huge milestone in mainstreaming nutrition education in primary schools in the country,” said Ms. Ciru Miring’u, Head of Nestlé East Africa.

Nestlé is seeking to initially partner with 500 schools, who have already been involved with the programme, through such forums like the annual Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA) meetings to carry out the nutrition education trainings and counselling.

The parents will be trained on: Nutritive value of food found in their localities, the nutrition requirements for kids’ growth and development, helping children to be physically active and techniques on how to maximize use of available space in their homesteads for kitchen gardens or gunny bag farming among others.

Malnutrition, which is used to refer to cases of undernutrition (stunted growth) and over nutrition (overweight/obesity), has been on the rise. Today the world faces a challenge of over 42 million children under the age of 5years being overweight or obese; 156 million children stunted (too short for their age) and 50 million children wasted (too thin for their height), according to the Word Health Organization (WHO). Nestlé in 2012 introduced the Healthy Kids Programme in Kenya to help tackle these issues and as part of its commitments to promote the well-being of children.

So far, Nestlé Kenya has trained 1, 700 teachers in the programme while 420,000 children have been reached in 500 schools. In 2017, Nestlé is aiming to spend Sh10 million in scaling up the Healthy Kids Programme, including the implementation of the new ‘parent and guardians nutrition training’.

Currently, feedback from teachers shows that the schools where the programme has been implemented have, since 2012, recorded an enhanced awareness of the importance of good nutrition.

Nestlé launched the Healthy Kids Programme globally in 2009 with the aim of raising awareness of the importance of good nutrition and an active lifestyle among school-age children.  Nestlé aims to support 50 million children and families through our nutrition education and behaviour change programmes by 2020.