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Dubai Kids Enthusiastic and Creative in first field visit by “Nestlé Healthy Kids Program – Ajyal Salima” Partners

Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Education Zone and Nestlé observe 4th graders in school session emphasizing importance of five fruits and vegetables a day to “infuse food with the colors of the rainbow”

Dubai, 6 March 2013: Launched in September and currently underway in 10 public schools across Dubai, The “Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Program – Ajyal Salima” Children Nutrition Education Program was deemed a preliminary success after the first field visit by organizers found 4th graders to be enthusiastic, creative and eager to share what they learn with their families – promising healthy changes among the general public’s eating habits.

“We were delighted to witness the high level of interest among children during a classroom session entitled “Color your food with Fruits and Vegetables, the colors of the Rainbow,” which emphasized the importance of eating five fruits and vegetables,” said Dr Fathia Hatim Al-Maazmi, Head of the Health Promotion Section at the Dubai Health Authority.

“The teachers illustrated the message beautifully through rainbow comparisons, and the children were all too eager to demonstrate their new knowledge by creating fun characters using fruits and vegetables of various colors representing different vitamins and minerals in each,” said Mr. Ahmad Abdul-Rahman, representing the Dubai Educational Zone.

“It was also touching and impressive to hear kids tell us that they’re sharing all they learn in these sessions with their families, and give us concrete examples of changes in behavior among themselves and their loved ones,” added Al-Maazmi.

“Ajyal Salima” – a collaboration between Nestlé; the Dubai Health Authority; the Dubai Education Zone; and the Princess Haya Initiative for the Development of Health, Physical Education & School Sports – aims to raise nutrition, health and wellness awareness of school children aged 9 to 11. “The Program involves 12 educational sessions per round, including interactive learning and hands-on activities on nutrition, healthy eating and physical activity; as well as questionnaires developed to track improvement of children from pre to post interventions,” explained Karine Antoniades Turk, Program Manager, Nestlé Healthy Kids Middle East.

The “Ajyal Salima” curriculum was developed by the American University of Beirut (AUB) to answer to regional community issues and addresses nutritional habits and requirements. The first “train the trainer” workshop was held in Dubai in January, bringing AUB experts to the Emirate to present its various elements to teachers from local schools. Implementation in classrooms has since been launched, with the first phase of the Program slated for completion in June 2013.

The two-year first phase Program will cover all 29 public schools of Dubai, and includes roadshows, health carnivals, teachers training, classroom implementation and assessment of children knowledge and behavior.