Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Nestlé tackles childhood obesity

Published:Monday | May 4, 2015 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
Nicola Bowen (centre), head girl of Seaview Gardens Primary School, has the attention of (from left) Jürg Blaser, country manager of Nestlé Jamaica; Kirk Bolton, president of the Jamaica Association of Professionals in Nutrition and Dietetics; Shawna Kidd, corporate communications and consumer relationship marketing manager; and Dennis Chung, CEO of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, at the Nestlé Schools Wellness Fiesta launch at The Knutsford Court Hotel, St Andrew, on Wednesday, April 29.

The Nestlé Schools Wellness Fiesta annually provides a platform for children to acquire the requisite knowledge to develop a more positive attitude towards food and physical exercise.

This year's theme, 'Preventing Childhood Obesity Begins with Me', was chosen to focus on the increasing levels of non-communicable diseases with heightened emphasis on obesity. The theme also coincides with the company's corporate campaign of raising nutrition awareness among school-age children, promoting physical activity as a lifelong habit and positively impacting the lives of children.

At least 43 million children under the age of five were overweight in 2010. According to the World Health Organization, worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980 and has resulted in non-communicable illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension and some cancers.

 

PARENTS IN DENIAL

 

Jurg Blaser, country manager, Nestlé Jamaica Limited, says parents, particularly mothers, do not see their children as being overweight or obese. "Where it becomes dramatic is when we look at obesity among children and their prospects for the future. In some developing countries, the panorama is changing dramatically from undernourishment to overweight practically within one or two generations," Blaser said.

"At Nestlé, we believe that only a multisectoral approach can bring relevant and sustainable change. A focus on children is the most promising one as we can positively influence future generations," Blaser said.

The Nestlé Schools Wellness Fiesta has so far touched more than 8,500 lives and is used to educate children, parents and teachers on topics that affect their health and well-being.

The sixth staging of the Nestlé Schools' Wellness Fiesta will take place from May 14-15, at the Jamaica Conference Centre starting at 9 a.m. daily.

In commemoration of Nestlé's 75th anniversary, the prizes for winning schools on each day are: $75,000 for first place; $50,000 for second place; and $30,000 for third.

Partners for the event include The Heart Foundation of Jamaica, the Jamaica Library Service, SoftSheen-Carson, Kirk Distributors, Cool Runnings Water Park, The Gleaner, Jamaica National, Television Jamaica, and the Jamaica Information Service.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com