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Nestlé Addresses Child Obesity in Egypt

6 April, 2016
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In 2013, the World Health Organization estimated that over 40 million children suffered from obesity, poor eating habits, lack of awareness and reduced physical activity. In fact, if global trends continue, by 2025 the number of obese children will have increased to around 70 million, causing a range of life threatening illness including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems.

Recognizing this growing phenomenon, Nestlé has partnered with Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Solidarity to launch United for Healthier Kids, an awareness campaign designed to support and educate children, schools, parents and the general public in creating a healthier lifestyle for their children.

The campaign, which will focus on children up to 12 years old, is part of a collaboration between Sanofi, ABB and MBC Hope, and is designed to provide a science-based understanding of the health challenges parents and children in the Middle East region face. Focusing on five key behaviors that lead to obesity, the campaign will run key initiatives including Feed Your Baby Like a Baby, Managed Portions, More Fruits and Vegetables, More Water and More Movement.

"Leveraging off Nestlé's reach, as well as our global expertise and research, we hope to provide a healthier life for children and future generations too," explained Yasser Abdulmalak, CEO of Nestlé Egypt. "We aim to reach 65,000 students from 100 schools in two governorates as a start, and will also be targeting mothers from all walks of life from twenty to 40 years old. The campaign will be rolled out over a period of three years, and we have high hopes that we will be able to create a significant impact on the lives of kids in Egypt and the region."

Each initiative within the campaign will target a specific root cause of the increase in child obesity, starting with the Feed Your Baby Like a Baby initiative. This will provide educational awareness for mothers on the importance of breastfeeding for at least the first six months of the child's life. Other initiatives will focus on greater physical activity, not only as a way for children to stay in shape but also as a way to develop motor skills, decision-making and support greater concentration amongst children. These initiatives are particularly important for children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), as links have been identified between poor eating and exercise habits as factors in the increased prevalence of the disease amongst children.

Portion management, the importance of staying hydrated, and the need to add more fruit and vegetables into the diet will also be key areas of focus. The campaign focuses on getting the message across to kids through edutainment activities that revolve around awareness and education through play. It will also support mothers in coming up with creative solutions and recipes designed to encourage children to put down their burgers and eat fruit instead.

In collaboration with Nestlé the National Research Center in Egypt will also be reaching out to NGOs in Egypt to provide them with nutritional data and training to support these entities in spreading the message to a larger audience of parents and children. A particular focus will be targeting families from poorer areas whose children often don't have regular access to effective education.

Tags Nestlé Egypt MBC Hope MBC Al Amal National Research Center CSR Corporate Social Responsibility childhood obesity health education health awareness Sanofi United For Healthier Kids