Nestlé Helps Teachers in Dubai Bring Nutrition Lessons to Life
Nestlé is helping teachers in Dubai to explain the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle to their pupils as part of its commitment to nutrition, health and wellness.
The company has been working in partnership with the Princess Haya Initiative for the Development of Health, Physical Education and School Sports, the Dubai Health Authority and the Dubai Education Zone, to train teachers to incorporate lessons about good nutrition and physical activity into the school curriculum.
The ‘Nestlé for Healthy Kids – Ajyal Salima’ programme provides teaching materials, tools and follow-up support, as well as an assessment of the children’s knowledge and skills before and after they have taken part.
The initiative is part of the global Nestlé Healthy Kids programme that aims to raise the nutrition, health and wellness awareness of school-age children worldwide.
Putting into practice
“The programme is designed to enable teachers to introduce topics about nutrition and physical activity into any lesson without increasing their workload,” said Dr Carla Mourad, a nutritionist who developed the Dubai initiative at the American University of Beirut.
“All the teaching material is based on getting children to remember four simple messages: to increase their breakfast intake, eat more daily portions of fruit and vegetables, be physically active, and eat less energy dense foods.
“It’s up to individual teachers how to structure each lesson. They have a lot of room to be creative.”
A typical lesson given by teachers as part of the programme comprises 10-15 minutes of theory, followed by 20-25 minutes of activity to put into context what has just been taught.
This could be counting food portions as part of a maths lesson about fractions, writing essays about nutrition in a literature class, or taking part in role plays as part of a language class.
“The aim is to increase the children’s knowledge and self-efficacy,” explained Dr Mourad. “Even if a child knows they should eat five portions of fruit a day, they need to have the confidence and skills to put this into practice.”
The Nestlé for Healthy Kids – Ajyal Salima programme in Dubai is aimed at nine to 11 year-olds, who are old enough to prepare simple food with the help of adults.
All the children receive a diary in which they keep a daily record of their fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity.
“We really encourage parents to support their children’s progress by providing healthy foods at home,” said Dr Mourad. “We also involve them by inviting them to meetings and events at school.”
““Even if a child knows they should eat five portions of fruit a day, they need to have the confidence and skills to put this into practice.”” Dr Carla Mourad, nutritionist.
Nestlé launched the Healthy Kids – Ajyal Salima programme in Dubai in October 2012.
The company recently received an award from its partner the Princess Haya Initiative for the Development of Health, Physical Education and School Sports, in recognition of the valuable role it has played in setting up the programme in the country.
It is the second such initiative Nestlé has set up in the Middle East region, following the launch of a Healthy Kids programme in Lebanon in 2010 in partnership with the Lebanese Ministry of Higher Education and the American University of Beirut.
The company intends to use the programme in Dubai as a base from which to launch similar initiatives in the United Arab Emirates.
Nestlé launched the global Nestlé Healthy Kids programme in 2009. Today it operates in more than 60 countries worldwide. The company aims to extend the programme to 70 countries by 2016.
The programme is based on multi-partnership approaches. In each country Nestlé helps to develop the specific format of the programme, which is then implemented by the partner organisation.
More than 50 Healthy Kids programmes around the world are endorsed by national ministries of health or education. Nestlé also works together with over 250 other organisations including non-governmental organisations, nutrition institutes, national sport federations and local governments.
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