Oct 4, 2013, updated March 2015
Malnutrition is a growing problem in developing countries worldwide.
Children who are malnourished may be stunted in growth, have reduced IQ, and a lower resistance to infection due to a deficiency in essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, Zinc, Iron or Iodine.
In Vietnam, nearly a quarter of children under that age of five are stunted in growth, according to recent figures released by the World Health Organization.
Statistics also showed that 15% of children in the same age category were underweight in the country in 2013.
To help address this problem Nestlé launched its Healthy Kids Programme in Vietnam in 2012 aimed at children aged six to 12.
The school-based programme, which focuses on nutrition education, aims to raise awareness about good nutritional practices, healthy lifestyles and boost physical activity amongst primary schoolchildren in rural schools.
Nestlé is supporting the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education in a bid to help put nutrition education and physical activity at the forefront.
The company has also based the programme on the existing national curriculum to help develop its approach.
The programme is delivered through 12 modules, which focus on topics such as the digestive system, nutritional needs, nutrition value of food, malnutrition, obesity, iodine for good health, food safety, and the role of physical activity.
Learning materials have been developed on nutrition and physical activity for children, parents and teachers.
An interactive Nestlé Healthy Kids nutrition website has been developed and introduced in 18 schools in five Vietnamese provinces of Ninh Binh, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, Can Tho and Dong Nai to engage children on nutrition, food hygiene and physical activity.
Teachers have been trained on the content and usability of the website and software, with expert feedback provided from the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN).
Each student has voluntarily completed a set number of hours over the period of nine months.
Researchers from the NIN also monitored the use of software and content during the course of the programme.
Value to Society
The Healthy Kids Programme in Vietnam has reached about 15,000 children, 6,000 parents, 350 teachers and 18 schools.
The website software attracts about 500 visitors a day, and evaluations from the NIN showed that after only three months, the programme had a positive effect on the behaviour of the schoolchildren.
Their nutritional knowledge score increased during the programme with about 62-85% achieving good and excellent scores. There were no students that achieved poor levels of knowledge after 12 months of participation.
Almost all the schoolchildren developed their nutritional knowledge and focused on the importance of assessing their nutritional status, its role and the nutritional value of the food groups.
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.
Nestlé aims to reach about 20,000 students in Vietnam during 2015-2016.
The company also seeks to reinforce the benefits of the programme to the Ministry of Education in Vietnam, with a long-term goal that it forms part of the school curriculum in the future.