Enlightening Children and Caregivers about Nutrition with Nestlé for Healthier Kids

By Syed Zain Akhter | December 2022

A healthy development of any child depends on correct nutrition, but that is a notion often easier said than done. Giving children a healthy diet is not just challenging because of the information overload these days due to newer research, but also because children do not understand the importance of this.

This is precisely the thought that lead to the development of nutrition awareness program by Nestlé, called the Nestlé for Healthier Kids (N4HK), a global initiative that aims to overcome challenges by raising nutrition, health knowledge and promoting physical activity

It is aimed at enlightening teachers, parents and caregivers to help them learn fostering health habits of eating and drinking. By 2030, the program aims to help 50 million children lead healthier lives globally.

Nestlé for Healthier Kids in Pakistan

In 2018, the National Nutrition Survey reported Pakistan, which has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition, to be amid a nutrition crisis with stunted growth being a major indicator. Covid-19 and the recent floods are the biggest negative factors. To overcome this, there is a dire need to focus on creating awareness about a healthy diet and various forms of nutrition that children need daily.

Launched in Pakistan in 2010, N4HK is part of Nestlé’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 of Good Health and Well Being, ensuring that children understand the value of nutrition and physical activity and its long-term effects on health.

It does so by increasing nutrition and health awareness amid children and encouraging parents, teachers, and caregivers to use various learning techniques and involve children in the process. For the past 12 years, the program has grown significantly including, within last year, 285,000 children in 340 schools and training more than 1500 teachers with 10 educational partners nationwide.

Activity based learning to raise nutrition awareness

N4HK understands that nutrition can be a rather boring concept to learn and encourages activity-based learning for children. These include essay writing contests that encourage children to learn about themes related to nutrition. Such activities encourage conversations on health and nutrition at home and in class.

Another activity is drawing competitions and baking sessions to engage children in learning more about nutritional value of their food.

Getting children involved in the preparation of meals leads them to adopt healthier eating habits, ensuring their diet quality is higher, and it includes eating fruits and vegetables.

The role of parents, caregivers, and teachers

Involving parents, teachers, and caregivers plays an integral role in building children’s understanding about nutrition. At home, parents and caregivers can engage in conversations about food, health, and nutrition, particularly when activity-based learning is taking place.

At school, teachers reinforce this by including nutrition knowledge in their classroom discussions and curriculum. N4HK has also developed a curriculum-based program aimed at increasing children’s knowledge on nutrition and physical activity. highlighting the importance of the intake of a balanced diet and the importance of hydration and hygiene.

N4HK works in collaboration with several government bodies and educational partners including Punjab Workers Welfare Board, Zindagi Trust, The Trust School, Care Foundation, Silver Oaks and others. leverages the power of multiple institutions to overcome the nutrition challenge.

With efforts that bring the public and private sector together to work on nutritional awareness, there is hope that more and more children will become aware of their nutritional needs.