Mar 26, 2015, updated March 2015
Nestlé launched the Healthy Kids Finland programme to children aged six to 12 to address the increasing obesity problem and lack of exercise in adults and teenagers in Finland.
In the country, over two thirds of men and more than half of women are overweight, while one fifth of both men and women are obese, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Following a similar pattern in teenagers, the WHO states that about 14% of 15-year-old boys are pre-obese and about 3% are obese. In the same age range, about 8% of girls are pre-obese and 1% is obese.
In 2003, a health survey in Finland also found that a quarter of men and a fifth of women aged 15-64 took part in physical exercise less than twice a week and/or for under 30 minutes at a time.
To counteract these health patterns, Nestlé launched the Healthy Kids Finland programme in January 2014 to children aged six to 12 from schools based near to the company’s operations and in rural areas
In line with national guidelines on diets and physical activity, it aims to enhance their healthy eating habits, get them involved in exercise and boost healthy nutrition.
The programme’s content was developed by the Finnish Athletics Federation, the Marthas Association, and the Healthy Pupil (Terve koululainen – TEKO) programme.
The Finnish Athletics Federation will monitor and evaluate the progress of the participating children by measuring their knowledge, attitude and behaviour to nutrition education and physical activity.
It will also measure the amount of afternoon clubs organised and how many children will be impacted, and the number of secondary school visits planned and how many secondary school students will be reached.
To help leverage the programme, a number of young athletes from the Finnish Athletics Federation are acting as ambassadors and volunteer their time to the programme.
Value to Society
The Healthy Kids Finland programme has already made an impact on about 1,500 children in the country.
About 10,340 children, 20 primary schools, 17 secondary schools and 20 athletic sports clubs took part in the initiative.
The national launch of the programme has reached over 2,309,300 people, and more than 557,421 people through local organised events.
Value to Nestlé
The initiative establishes a global competitive advantage and demonstrates Nestlé’s commitment to address health issues globally. It also has a positive impact on Nestlé’s reputation as a leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company.
The Healthy Kids Finland programme aims to be scaled up with more activities.
In 2015, ten sports clubs are due to join the initiative in spring, and ten more in autumn.
More resources will be added to the research part of the initiative, which will be implemented in collaboration with the Healthy Pupil (Terve koululainen – TEKO) programme.