Nestlé Lanka, Education Ministry and Peradeniya University join hands to impact country’s nutrition, health and wellness.Nestlé Lanka, together with the Ministry of Education and the University of Peradeniya, kicked off an inventive Nutrition Awareness Programme (a part of the Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme) in Sri Lanka recently.
Nestlé Lanka, together with the Ministry of Education and the University of Peradeniya, kicked off an inventive Nutrition Awareness Programme (a part of the Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme) in Sri Lanka recently.
A ground breaking initiative, the programme will not only create awareness of nutrition issues and how to address them, but also provide school children in rural communities guidance on living a healthy lifestyle.
Expected to impact thousands of school children in the country, the programme’s ambition is to be implemented in schools across the island.
Nestlé is widely recognised as a leading nutrition, health and wellness company, where nutrition is one of the three focus areas of their Creating Shared Value (CSV) philosophy.
The Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme is an initiative by the Nestlé Group worldwide to address some of the nutrition issues faced around the world.
The Nutrition and Food Security Survey 2010 (Medical Research Institute, Ministry of Health) states the most recent Sri Lanka Demographic and Health Survey indicates that nearly 17% of babies are born with low birth weight, while the prevalence of acute under nutrition (wasting), chronic under nutrition (stunting) and underweight was 15%, 18% and 22% respectively amongst children under the age of five years.
Of the women aged 15-49 years, assessment of nutritional status indicated that the prevalence of anaemia (caused by Vitamin A deficiency and Iron deficiency) was 16.2% among pregnant women, 19.6% among lactating women, and 21.7% among non pregnant and non lactating women.
With aims to address these concerns and sustain the country’s present trend of gradually decreasing nutritional deficiencies, Nestlé Lanka joined hands with the Ministry of Education and the country’s premier higher education institution, the University of Peradeniya, to develop an interactive, modern and easy-to-understand Nutrition Awareness programme of the highest quality.
The first of its kind in the country, this course on nutrition will be taught by qualified nutritionists from the University of Peradeniya together with the Ministry of Education.
During the programme, nutritionists from the University will disseminate knowledge and information on local food habits, availability of local food, nutritional deficiencies and food related disorders, food hygiene, and techniques to safeguard the nutritional value of food during preparation.
Alois Hofbauer, Managing Director of Nestlé Lanka, said: “Children are our future. The programme is thus carefully tailored for children between the ages of 13 to 17 years - an age group that can be classified as the change catalysts and nutrition ambassadors of the next generation. We are pleased and privileged to pioneer this landmark initiative for Sri Lanka’s children and are confident that we will make a difference towards improving the overall nutrition, health and wellness of the communities.”
The highly anticipated programme was launched in Pannala National School on account of the Company’s long standing relationship with the institution, and will be initially implemented for 2,000 students across Pannala, Kandy and Seruwawila.
T.B. Ekanayake, Deputy Minister of Education; Anura P. Yapa, Minister of Environment; Renuka Pieris, Director, Health and Nutrition, Ministry of Education; Prof. Buddhi Marambe, Director, Agriculture Education Unit, University of Peradeniya; and Dr. Nihal Wijesinghe and Prof. Sivakanesan of the Healthy Kids Joint Committee, University of Peradeniya attended the event.
The programme will encourage school children to act as catalysts in taking their nutritional learnings to their family members at home, as a deeper understanding of the elements of nutrition and good health amongst families will contribute to a positive nutritional status and quality of life for rural communities.
Said Hofbauer: “As this programme is rolled out to schools across the Island over the next few years, we hope to contribute towards the future of Sri Lanka by going forward as a healthy nation geared for growth, development and prosperity.”