Nestlé steps up efforts to help reduce childhood obesity in the US

Jan 25, 2013
Cory A. Booker
WORKING TOGETHER: Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker marks the next phase of the programme.

A Nestlé programme in the city of Newark in the United States that teaches parents of young children the fundamentals of good nutrition is to be expanded.

Nestlé/Newark Now!’, which was launched in 2012 with Newark’s Mayor Cory A. Booker, will reach twice as many families in year two. Some of the mothers and other women who went through the first programme will become ‘peer educators’.

In Newark, nearly one third of children aged 3-5 years old are classified as obese – three times the US national average. ‘Nestlé/Newark Now!’ has been designed to try to address this.

Healthy eating habits

The programme, run by Nestlé and the community organisation Newark Now!, helps fill a ‘gap’ in nutrition education that occurs after the first year of post-natal doctor visits and before the child reaches school age.

A bilingual public health nutritionist leads the sessions in community centres around Newark.

Fifty-five families took part in the first year, learning about the importance of breastfeeding, how to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, healthy snacking, dealing with fussy eaters, portion control and physical activity.

Sharing knowledge

The curriculum was created by an advisory board made up of local nutrition and public health experts, as well as community members with experience in engaging with local residents to help manage programme content and activities.

Starting in March, parents and other women who were picked to become ‘peer educators’, will begin sharing their knowledge with hundreds more families.

Unhealthy dietary patterns

The Nestlé/Newark Now! curriculum draws on the findings of the Nestlé Feeding Infants & Toddlers Study (FITS).

Young boy eating an apple
FILLING A GAP: Teaching parents of young children the fundamentals of good nutrition.

FITS studied the dietary habits and nutrient intake of 3,200 infants, toddlers and preschoolers, making it one of the largest, most comprehensive studies of its kind in the United States.

The study found that children aged as young as 12-24 months old were beginning to develop unhealthy dietary patterns that may lead to childhood obesity.

The study also revealed fruit and vegetables were lacking in children’s diets.

At an official ceremony in the city to mark the next phase of the programme, Newark Mayor Booker and Deputy Mayor Margarita Muniz were joined by Sylvana Linetti, Nutrition Director for Nestlé/Newark Now and Marilyn Knox, CEO of Nestlé Infant Nutrition.

Lavar Young, President and Chief Executive Officer for Newark Now and Dr Anyaoku, Director General of Paediatrics for the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, also attended.

Related information:
Nestlé Nutrition, Health and Wellness – giving kids the best start
VIDEO Marilyn Knox, CEO for Nestlé Infant Nutrition in the US talks about the programme
Newark Now
VIDEO Mayor Cory A. Booker discusses programme to fight childhood obesity

Read more about Nestlé’s work to combat childhood obesity:
Nestlé supports programme to reduce childhood obesity in the US
Gerber launches joint programme to combat child obesity
Nestlé Nutrition study reveals children are developing unhealthy eating habits earlier

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