Feb 3, 2014, updated February 2014
Nestlé launched its Healthy Kids in Bulgaria programme to boost nutrition education and physical activity for children aged seven to 13.
Data from a recent survey by the National Centre for Public Health and Analysis in Bulgaria showed that about 18% of children in the country are overweight and 22% of them are obese.
While figures from the World Health Organization revealed that over a fifth of men aged 20 in Bulgaria are obese. Worrying, this is a similar trend for women in the same age bracket.
In 2012, Nestlé launched its Healthy Kids in Bulgaria to encourage balanced nutrition, informed choices and increased physical activity for Bulgarian families.
It also seeks to raise awareness on family and community initiatives through public, private and community partners.
Healthy Kids in Bulgaria was developed with the Bulgarian Association for Study of Obesity and Related Diseases (BASORD).
The association carries out training for coordinators, and measures scientific data and information based on the programme.
Nestlé also supports the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, and Sofia Municipality by using their scientific knowledge to develop the programme.
The company follows the guidelines and works in close collaboration with experts at the National Centre for Public Health Protection and Analysis, focusing on its healthy nutrition and physical activity recommendations.
Healthy Kids in Bulgaria is also part of the EPODE for the Promotion of Health Equity (EPHE) project, which aims to reduce health inequalities within local communities. EPHE is financed by the European Commission, and covers Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Netherlands, Portugal and Romania.
Healthy Kids in Bulgaria is school-based, and includes after-school activities and weekend family activities.
Nestlé supports the training activities and guidelines of national bodies such as the National Sports Academy, the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation, and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
The company supported the Athletics Tournament and Sports Celebration led by Olympic gold triple jump medallist Tereza Marinova, who is also one of the main trainers in the International Association of Athletics Federations’ Kids Athletics in Bulgaria.
Nestlé also works closely with the Bulgarian branch of the European Culinary association Euro-Toques
Children celebrated the ‘European Day for Healthy Cooking with Children’ and took part in classes on healthy cooking and balanced nutrition.
In 2013, healthy eating and active lifestyle lessons were extended, together with cooking classes on how to prepare balanced meals.
Nestlé marked specific sporting days and organised cooking games in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, and national sports clubs.
Famous sportspeople also visited schools nationwide to provide ‘open lessons’ on physical activity.
Value to Society
In 2012, the pilot stage of the Healthy Kids in Bulgaria programme reached about 5,500 children, 5,500 parents, 150 teachers, and ten schools.
BASORD helped to collect, store and analyse data based on over 2,000 children’s body mass index (BMI) in 2012 to help the future development of the initiative.
University students from the Medical University in Sofia are continuing to collect data based on measurements and questionnaires from children and parents.
Value to Nestlé
The programme establishes a global competitive advantage and demonstrates Nestlé’s commitment to address health issues globally; and has a positive impact on Nestlé’s reputation as a leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company.
In 2013-2014, the programme will be widened to include ten new schools in the programme.
The company will continue to work with local authorities, universities and non-governmental organizations.