Oct 4, 2013, updated March 2015
The double burden of under-nutrition and obesity is apparent in the Philippines according to recent statistics.
The problem of under-nutrition in the country has remained unchanged in the last two decades, according to figures based on the National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2011 by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology.
In the Philippines, more than 30% of children aged six to ten are underweight. A high number of children in the same age bracket are stunted in growth.
The number of overweight children remains low but the figure has increased over time.
Nestlé launched its Healthy Kids Programme in the Philippines to help address these increasing problems.
The programme aims to raise awareness about healthy eating habits, the concept of a balanced and nutritious meal, encourage physical activity, introduce food safety behaviour, and highlight the importance of reading food labels to school children aged nine to ten years old.
IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES: A student dancing to the Go Grow song.
The lesson plans and curriculum were developed in collaboration with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST). The partnership was formed after a memorandum of understanding was signed in May 2013.
A total of ten lessons take place over three months emphasising food safety habits, teaching students about the concept of a balanced meal through FNRI-DOST’s ‘Pinggang Pinoy’ or Filipino Plate, and understanding food labels.
Lessons also highlight the nutritional benefits of ‘go’, ‘grow’ and ‘glow’ foods. Children will learn about how they form part of nutritious daily meals and encourage balanced diets.
The school-based programme is targeted at low-income areas and has been integrated into the school curriculum.
Taught by the teachers themselves the programme consists of fun and interactive activities such as pictionary, board games and role play.
Home and social environments also aim to mirror what is being taught in the classroom. There are three nutrition education sessions for parents and canteen workers encouraging them to promote nutrition education at home and at school.
Teachers are also given easy-to-understand instruction manuals about how to plan their lessons and how much time to designate for each activity. They were also given visual aids to use in their lessons.
Children, parents and schoolteachers use simple posters, flash cards and worksheets to help them understand the nutritional value of a healthy and balanced diet available in the local language, Tagalog.
The programme will be monitored throughout and measured through a food diary, tests, surveys, and five household case studies.
A research study was conducted by FNRI-DOST to compare results of the programme with a control school that did not participate in the programme.
The results showed a significant increase in the change in knowledge, attitude and behaviour comparing both pre and post-test and survey scores. It also showed that results were significantly higher in comparison to a school that did not take part in the Healthy Kids Programme.
For example, to demonstrate change in knowledge, when asked about the definition of a balanced meal only 64.4% of respondents knew the answer before the programme. This rose to 94.5% after the programme.
For the change in behaviour, 82.2% of students now read labels based on survey results.
Regarding attitude, when asked about their perception of importance on reading labels, a total of 100% of participating students answered that it was important, compared to only 77.9% of non-participating students who answered positively.
Value to Society
TEACHING GOOD VALUES: A student taking part in a Healthy Kids game.
In 2013, the Healthy Kids Programme was piloted in Malhacan Elementary School, in the Philippine city of Meycauayan in Bulacan province for more than 40 pupils aged nine to ten years old. This helped to test materials and provide feedback on the curriculum content.
The programme was further rolled out in July 2013 in two schools, reaching 298 students. In 2014, it reached five schools and 748 students.
To date, the programme has reached 1,046 grade four students in five schools located near the Nestlé Philippines factory sites.
Focusing on the research study conducted by FNRI-DOST, it is clear that this interactive type of nutrition education contributes to a positive change in knowledge, attitude and behaviour towards nutrition, which is helping to address the current under-nutrition problem that the country is facing.
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 Philippines has partnered with the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industries to create a ‘School Garden Manual’, which will be distributed to various public schools in the country.
The manual serves as a guide to teach both students and teachers how to establish a school garden. It will create an environment that aims to support the students’ newly increased knowledge, attitude and behaviour by ensuring that there will be a steady and affordable supply of vegetables at the school
In 2015, the programme will expand to the surrounding schools near to Nestlé Philippines’ factory sites.