The Federal Ministry of Education (FME) has endorsed the “Nestle for Healthier Kids Manual’’ targeted at inculcating a healthy life style in 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 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, said the manual was endorsed considering the fact that it was only a well fed child that would excel in school.
Adamu explained that children became 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 old age.
“Some 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 the 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 efforts 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, said their global vision was to help over 50 million children have the right information, enjoy good nutrition and healthy life style.
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 to spread the programme to other states.”
Mrs Gloria Nwabuike, Marketing and Public Affairs Manager of Nestle, said “Nestle for healthier kids programme” was launched globally on May 15, to mark the UN International Day of Families.
Nwabuike said 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 in the children, so that when they grow, they will practice the same healthy living.
“We also embarked on this school-based initiative having in mind that parents know that every day counts when preparing children for a successful future,” Nwabuike said.
According to her, the company aims to build, share and apply nutrition knowledge as well as offer tastier food choices and inspire families to raise healthier kids.
NAN reports that the event featured the unveiling of the Nestle for Healthier kids Manual and the signing of partnership certificate.