Feb 11, 2014, updated February 2014
The Nutrikid programme in Italy was launched by Nestlé to counteract the impact of the growing obesity problem in children and teenagers.
Although obesity rates are relatively low in Italy, they are very high among children, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
One in three children are overweight – one of the highest rates in the OECD.
About one in ten people suffer from obesity in Italy. While more than one in two men, and one in three women are overweight.
OECD statistics indicate that overweight rates look set to increase by a further 5% within ten years.
To address this nationwide problem, the Nutrikid programme was launched in 2008.
It aims to help schoolchildren, families and teachers understand and maintain the key principles of a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular physical activity.
Designed for students aged nine to ten, it offers an exciting, innovative and fun way of learning about balanced diets and physical activity.
The cartoon characters “the Nutrikids” are central to the programme. They look to relate to schoolchildren being the same age and liking similar hobbies and interests.
The Nutrikids help them recognise the seven nutritional food groups that make up the food pyramid, and how to match it with their daily diets.
A Nutrikid kit has been developed, which includes a DVD about the adventures of the seven Nutrikids, an interactive notebook, a teacher’s guide, a poster, and a questionnaire for each family to evaluate before and after the programme.
So far, Nutrikid has been launched in a number of Italian cities at national level.
Nestlé is working with the Nutrition Foundation of Italy in support of its expertise on scientific and nutritional research.
The company has also partnered with the publishing group Giunti Progetti Educativi, which works with young people, families, schools and educational management.
The ADI Foundation, which has approved Nutrikid, and the research centre Ales Research will continue to analyse the feedback on family questionnaires.
Nutrimi, a scientific nutrition congress in Italy, awarded the programme with the Nutrigold award for best nutritional communication in 2009.
It also received accolade for communication by Pubblico Today a year before.
Value to Society
The Nutrikid programme in Italy has benefited about 250,000 children since it was launched.
In 2013, it reached about 40,000 children in 500 schools in the country.
Results show that 99% of children who were monitored during the programme have started eating breakfast.
Value to Nestlé
The programme establishes a global competitive advantage and demonstrates Nestlé’s commitment to addressing health issues globally; and has a positive impact on Nestlé’s reputation as a leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company.
Nestlé aims to boost the Nutrikid programme in Italy by distributing 2,000 kits to more than 40,000 schoolchildren.