Nov 25, 2013, updated November 2013
Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Overweight and obese children are likely to stay obese into adulthood, and are also more likely to develop diseases such as diabetes, as well as cardiovascular diseases, at a younger age.
The latest physical health survey on primary school children conducted by the Taiwan Ministry of Education shows that more than 25% of school children are overweight or obese.
According to the Elementary School Children’s Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan, the three biggest problems in Taiwanese children’s eating habits are: not getting enough calcium, not getting enough fibre, and not having breakfast. If left unchecked, poor eating habits could cause serious health issues.
Nestlé Taiwan launched the Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Program, “健康吃，快樂動 -- Healthy Eating, Happy Exercise”, in 2010 to help elementary school children form good eating habits, so that they can grow up healthy.
After a thorough assessment of the state of Taiwanese children’s health, Nestlé Taiwan commissioned the John Tung Foundation (JTF), a prominent Taiwanese NGO, to help address the major problems in children’s eating habits in an effort to ease the overweight and obesity problem.
Endorsed by the Ministry of Education, “Healthy Eating, Happy Exercise,” a three year campus education programme, was launched, aimed at seven to nine year old school children. Each year consisted of a different theme and related activities. The first year focused on “getting enough calcium: two cups of milk everyday”; the second year emphasized “getting enough fiber: eat fruit, vegetables, and whole grains”; the third year promoted “having breakfast every day".
Through four courses and two school activities every year, children learned basic nutrition knowledge and concepts. They also formed correct eating habits and practiced physical exercise through fun and interactive games.
All teaching materials, including nutrition handbooks, story books, animation films, and posters, were specifically designed for the program.
Parents and teachers were provided with seminars and information in an effort to promote further engagement and gain their support in reinforcing the habits of healthy nutrition among children.
Value to Society
The “Healthy Eating, Happy Exercise” program has reached 5,000 children in 11 elementary schools.
Evaluations have concluded that all participating children understood 80% of the nutrition knowledge delivered. The percentage of children having dairy products everyday rose from 59.2% to 70.3%. The percentage of children not eating whole grain at all fell from 48% to 8.5%, an 82% improvement. And 84.8% of children now have breakfast every day.
As a result of the programme, over 50% of participating schools now comply with the campus meal policy issued by the Ministry of Education. After the three years, the percentage of families regularly consuming snacks and soft drinks has dropped from 79% to 47.8%.
Value to Nestlé
Establishes a global competitive advantage and demonstrates Nestlé’s commitment to address health issues globally; has a positive impact on Nestlé’s reputation as a leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company.
Nestlé Taiwan aims to spread the positive impact and benefits of its “Healthy Eating, Happy Exercise” programme to more children by rolling out a second, two-year extended program.
The two-year program, which includes a focus on exercise, consolidates the essential content from the original program into four semesters that will have different themes ("calcium", "fiber", "breakfast everyday", and "exercise regularly" respectively), while still covering the elements of basic nutritional education.