Four to six year-olds in the Middle East now have access to a “virtual pet” encouraging them to drink More Water, with the launch of the Tummyfish book and App – home to a fish appearing to swim in a child’s belly which gets happier and vigorous with more water consumption, and sad and slow when it needs water to regain full energy. Nestlé Middle East and Motivate publishing have joined forces for this launch, as part of “More Water” behavior from United for Healthier Kids movement created in 2015 to help parents nurture healthier generations. The celebration was held with families and children at the Wild Wadi Water Park in Dubai.
“Hydration is particularly important for children as they need more water during the day for many reasons among which are: their fast growth rate, higher water percentage of their body, and being generally more active than adults,” said Dr. Carla Habib Mourad, Clinical and Community nutritionist and the Nutritional Behavior Change Expert for United for Healthier Kids. “Children usually don’t ask for water as the first option when they are thirsty and parents need to make it available and fun for them to ask for.”
International studies show that 30% of obese preschoolers and 40% of obese school children become obese adults1, making childhood obesity reduction all the more vital.
“Our expertise in publishing and distribution, combined with our passion to contribute to healthier generations, made us the natural partner to publish the Tummy Fish book,” said Charlie Scott books publisher at Motivate Publishing, the official publisher of the Tummyfish book in English and Arabic, which supports the App’s adoption by following the story of the fish’s journey from an unhealthy environment to a healthy lifestyle.
United for Healthier Kids capitalizes on the generosity of the Arab culture to offer MORE, calling for the promotion of MORE Movement; MORE Water; MORE Fruits & Vegetables; and MORE Managed Portions – behaviors scientifically proven to positively impact quality of life throughout life if adopted at an early age.
“Nestlé is committed to promoting healthy diets and lifestyles, with specific focus on children,” said Yves Manghardt, Chairman and CEO, Nestlé Middle East. “As the world’s leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness Company, we offer unique expertise to help tackle the diverse nutrition challenges facing people in the region, and we have the capacity and, more importantly, the determination to contribute to healthier kids.”
The GEMS Wellington School in Dubai has come onboard as the first to actively engage its 4-6 year-old pupils, their parents and teachers with the book and App in the current academic year, encouraged by a pilot test in one classroom prior to the launch.
“The Tummyfish initiative is based on scientifically-proven behavioral change principles, and powered by creativity to make it a fun social tool,” said Patricia El Chammas, United for Healthier Kids Manager at Nestlé Middle East. “It uses messaging interventions to help parents act in ways that encourage their children to adopt healthy behaviors, and gently nudges them and their kids towards actions that are in their best interest.”
“We are thrilled to be the official launch partner of Tummyfish. At Wild Wadi Waterpark we believe in creating memorable experiences and offering activities in a safe family friendly environment through our thoughtful services and dedicated colleagues. Collaboration of Wild Wadi Waterpark with United Healthier Kids is in line with our vision to contribute to healthier generations in the region”. Said Chris Swartz, the Waterpark manager.
“We invite everybody to unite for healthier kids, by becoming a member of the movement and signing up at www.U4HK-me.com and to download Tummyfish from App Store or Google Play to witness for themselves the unique experience,” concluded Chammas.
About United for Healthier Kids:
United for Healthier Kids (U4HK) is a pioneering, comprehensive and science-based program developed by Nestlé and built on partnerships among various entities with the aim of nurturing healthier generations. In the Middle East, United for Healthier Kids is launched in partnership with MBC Al Amal and the Arabian Radio Network to help parents establish healthier eating, drinking and lifestyle habits for children aged 4-12.
Through nutritional science and a deep understanding of the region’s parents and kids, Nestlé identified four behaviors that need to be brought into the everyday routines of children to ensure a healthier lifestyle: MORE Movement, MORE Water, MORE Fruits & Vegetables, and MORE Managed Portions.
To help parents to encourage their kids to drink MORE Water, United for Healthier Kids created a platform, Tummyfish mobile app that acts as a support for parents to ensure their kids lead a healthier lifestyle by drinking more water and less unhealthy drinks.
You can join the movement on www.U4HK-me.com, www.MBC.net/U4HK, Facebook.com/U4HKme, or Instagram: @U4HKme.
United for Healthier Kids invites everybody to unite for healthier kids, by becoming a member of the movement and signing up at www.U4HK-me.com.The website provides a wealth of tips and fun ideas to make adopting a healthy lifestyle enjoyable and easy for parents and kids.
People can also join the movement on Facebook.comU4HKme, or Instagram: @U4HKme.
More on United for Healthier Kids focus areas:
More Movement: Being active is not only important for health, but for children to develop their motor skills, decision-making, attention and teamwork abilities. Regular physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle where any amount and any type of exercise are better than none.
More Water: Water is best for calorie-free hydration and controlling the body’s temperature – and is especially important for children who are physically active or live in hot climates. Parents should encourage children to drink adequate amounts of water.
More Fruits & Vegetables: Children should be encouraged to have a varied, nutrient-rich diet based on the different food groups. The United for Healthier Kids program emphasizes variety such as offering vegetables and fruits as snacks, in side dishes and incorporated into main meals.
More Managed Portions: Helping children select the right amount of food, in the correct proportions, instills healthier eating habits. United for Healthier Kids communicates age-appropriate portions to parents.