Nigeria provides springboard for global Nestlé initiative to fight kiddie malnutrition

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Jumping for joy: the global Nestlé for Healthier Kids initiative - launched in Nigeria - is aimed at kids becoming healthy adults. Pic: ©GettyImages/Riccardo Lennart Niels Mayer
Jumping for joy: the global Nestlé for Healthier Kids initiative - launched in Nigeria - is aimed at kids becoming healthy adults. Pic: ©GettyImages/Riccardo Lennart Niels Mayer

Related tags: Nestle, Nigeria, Children, Malnutrition, Cereals, reformulation

Nesquik Alphabet breakfast cereal maker Nestlé Nigeria Plc has launched an initiative to fight acute malnutrition affecting Nigeria’s 2.3 million children.

According to Nestlé Nigeria’s corporate communication and public affairs manager Victoria Uwadoka, the Nestlé for Healthier Kids (NGK) is a global program aimed to bring together the initiatives the company is putting into place to ensure that children are able to live healthier lives.

The flagship program – launched in partnership with the Nigerian government – aims to reach 17,000 children and 350 teachers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Ogun State in the Abaji area of Nigeria, through the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

“We are implementing this initiative in schools… to train the teachers and, in turn, to impart this education to the children so when they go home, they can practice healthy nutrition to ensure they stay and grow healthy, then they can learn properly, be agile in school and grow to have better life,”​ said Uwadoka.

The country’s government has applauded Nestlé for its initiative, but noted the program will need to be scaled up.

Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Chris Isokpumwu, said: “We have 2.5 million children acutely malnourished and at least one in five of those children will die. We are taking action, but the government cannot do that alone… it requires support of parents, teachers, corporate organizations like Nestle, and everybody."

Live to a ripe old age

“The Federal Ministry of Health was very eager to partner with this initiative because of the prospects of scaling it up to the rest of the country. We will continue to support, promote and protect our children.

“We are in a country and indeed, a world, where people no longer live to the ripe old age. We need to go back to the basics,”​ said he said.

Nestlé’s CEO, Mark Schneider, said the company is already committed to reformulating around one third of its product portfolio every year to healthier standards with even more fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich grains and micronutrients.

Nestlé on the move

“In 2017 alone, we launched more than 1,000 new products [globally] to meet the nutritional needs of children. In the same year, we provided 174 billion servings of fortified foods and beverages in 66 countries where people lack essential micronutrients such as iron, iodine and vitamin A​.

“Nestlé will also continue to reduce sugars, salt and saturated fats. Some recent product launches include Nesquik Alphabet whole grain breakfast cereals with reduced sugar,” ​he said.

The program, which targets 50m children by 2030, includes the further development of healthier products and advice for families on nutrition and exercise.

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