Nurturing a healthier generation starts with us, today.
The world is facing several global health challenges. In 2019, 38 million children under the age of five were overweight or obese, while 47 million in the same age group suffered from wasting.11
Children in the Middle East and North Africasuffer froma triple burden of malnutrition, with overweight, under nutrition, and micronutrient deficiencies10 co-existing.
Nestlé’s ambition is to play a role in tackling children’s nutrition and lifestyle habits through the Nestlé for Healthier Kids global initiative which aims to help 50 million children lead healthier lives by 2030.
HERE we can embed the VIDEO of Nestle for Healthier Kids:
Nestlé for Healthier Kids Launch with Nestlé CEO - YouTube
What we have done so far
Research in children nutrition
To enhance global understanding of children’s nutritional needs and guide our product portfolio development, we at Nestlé conduct studies around the world in collaboration with local partners, including both the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) and the Kids Nutrition and Health Study (KIDS) in select countries to better understand children’s dietary intakes and the impact of factors such as meal timing, types of foods consumed at each meal, and feeding practices.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Nestlé Research completed in 2020 a large-scale nutrition study for the United Arab Emirates that provided deeper understanding of children’s nutrition in the country, revealing various micronutrient inadequacies. The local FITS and KIDS research was conducted by United Arab Emirates University, the University of Sharjah, and Tathqeef Health Treatment Undertakings Services, in partnership with the American University of Beirut, and Nestlé Research which designed the methodologies and covered financing.
These valuable findings support product research and innovation, allowing us to better meet local and regional nutritional needs through our products, and to shape the information we provide to parents and caregivers. Such studies add to national discussions and help promote further multisectoral collaborations to formulate evidence-based interventions and nutrition related policies.
Product innovation and the introduction of healthier foods
We are expanding our kids’ products portfolio to further help meet the needs of children throughout the day. We do this by designing science-based nutritious and exciting foods and beverages for children, while continuously improving nutrition in existing products.
Organic infant cereals
Gerber provides a range of organic baby food suitable as of the age of six months. Two variants of organic infant cereals were launched in 2020: wheat, oats, and banana; and wheat, oats, and vanilla.
Organic infant cereals
Cerelac Farmer’s selection offers a choice of four tasty variants made with five cereals and quinoa and fortified with Iron and 11 vitamins. Free of added sucrose, artificial flavors, or added preservatives, they are suitable for babies as of the age of six months.
More fruits in infant snacks
Gerber fruits and vegetables puree pouches, are organic and gluten free, made with all-natural ingredients, and contain no artificial flavors, colors, added preservatives, or added sugars.
Organic infant snacks
Gerber puffs and biscuits are organic and gluten free nutritious snacks for babies. They are easy to pick up and eat, are made with all-natural ingredients, and contain no artificial flavors, colors, added preservatives, added sugars, or salt. All babies get are real fruits and vegetables!
Nutritionally balanced growing-up milk
NIDO THREE Plus is free of sucrose, fortified with vitamins and minerals and enriched with probiotics and other nutrients that supports brain and visual development, and gut defenses.
Forever-improved fortified milk powder for school-age nutrition
NIDO offers a fortified milk powder designed to support the nutritional needs of school-aged children and made with 100% natural cow milk with no artificial flavors, colors, or added preservatives.
Vitamins A, C, D, and Zinc are added to support healthy immunity, Iron to support proper cognitive development, and Calcium and vitamin D to promote healthy growth of bones and teeth.
Nestlé Fortified Nutritious Formula provides a dairy-based formula fortified with Iron, Zinc, vitamins A, C, and D, with no artificial flavors, colors, or added preservatives.
Two recommended daily glasses provide more than 50% of daily Iron needs of school-aged children
It is also designed to help support strong immunity, healthy brain development, and proper development of bones and teeth in children.
Organic breakfast cereals
Nesquik organic breakfast cereal contains at least 50% wholegrains that are known to be naturally rich in essential micronutrients. It’s 100% organic with no artificial colors, flavors, or added preservatives.
Wholegrain breakfast on-the-go
Honey Cheerios cereal bars are a nutritious breakfast option for kids, launched in 2020 in the Middle East and North Africa. They are made with wholegrains as their number one ingredient, consisting of at least 38% wholegrains, and include five different types of wholegrain cereals that infuse rich and diverse nutritional value.
The bars are prepared with the delicious honey taste kids love, with no added artificial colors or flavors. They are also a source of Calcium and B-vitamins which are essential for normal growth and development.
Wholegrain breakfast offerings
A fun bear-shaped wholegrain cereal portion, NAT Bears was launched to encourage children to consume more milk for optimal growth and development.
The bars are made with wholegrain as their number one ingredient, consisting of at least 50% wholegrains as well as all-natural ingredients.
More veggies in soups and Meal Kits
Maggi is applying its 'Simply Delicious and Nutritious' principles across its product range, using only ingredients consumers know and love, more plant-based ingredients such as vegetables, and fiber-rich grains and legumes, fortifying its products with essential micronutrients and reducing their salt and fat content.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Maggi has developed a range of kids soups and meal kits designed as per the nutritional needs of school-aged kids (4-8 years old) made with locally common spices, herbs, vegetables, and grains. These products are free of added artificial colors, flavors, or added preservatives, and offer children one of their five a day recommended vegetable servings.
Education and innovative nutrition and lifestyle programs and services
Running at schools, in stores, online, and in communities, Nestlé offers a variety of programs and services aimed at improving nutrition and promoting healthier lifestyles.
Nestlé for Healthier Kids School Nutrition Education Program
Now in more than 80 countries and having already provided support to over 80 million children, the Nestlé for Healthier Kids school nutrition education program helps raise awareness of the importance of good nutrition and active lifestyles among school-aged children around the world. The Program is implemented in partnerships and collaboration with local academic institutions, NGOs, nutrition institutes, national sport federations, and governments.
In the Middle East and North Africa, the Program is implemented under the name of “Ajyal Salima,” which means “healthy generations” in Arabic. The regional curriculum, aimed at promoting nutrition knowledge and healthy eating habits among 9-14 year-old schoolchildren, was scientifically developed by the American University of Beirut to answer specific Middle Eastern community issues and address nutritional habits and requirements.
First launched in Lebanon in 2010 and since implemented in six countries, Ajyal Salima is the only evidence-based nutrition education program in the region,1 proven to improve nutrition knowledge and eating behavior with six publications4-9 in peer-reviewed journals.
The Program has become part of the national school curriculum in Lebanon, is endorsed by Her Majesty Queen Rania in Jordan, is embedded in Ministry of Education programs in Palestine, and is part of the Bahrain Ministry of Health Strategy to address childhood obesity.
A locally tailored Ajyal Salima program in Egypt has reached more than 760,000 children and teachers at 1,000 schools in 12 governorates, implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Education and local NGOs. It’s also offered scientific-based interventions in collaboration with Egypt’s National Research Center to help raise awareness among families.
Adopt a Fruit, Adopt a Vegetable
Good food decisions start in-store. Through retail and e-retail initiatives, we use our influence, and that of our retail partners, to encourage parents to fill their shopping baskets with healthier options and to encourage kids to change from being passive to active participants in the shopping journey, hence shaping their behaviors.
Running intermittently since 2017 in select Middle East and North Africa countries under the umbrella of Nestlé for Healthier Kids, “Adopt a Fruit, Adopt a Vegetable” retail activations educate children about nutrition facts through fun and engaging activities within supermarkets and retail outlets. The call to eat more fruits and vegetables is brought to life through various characters created out of fruits and vegetables, with names and key benefits of each presented in a fun and appealing manner. Activities are led by nutritionists and include special trolleys as well as in-store leaflets that encourage varied food shopping.
The roll out of the initiative followed evidence from various research indicating that children will adopt healthier eating habits if educated about nutritious food options and inspired how to choose for themselves.
We have so far collaborated with six partners in nine countries on these activations and we’re expanding their reach on e-commerce sites.
A “virtual pet” – essentially a digital fish appearing to swim in a child’s belly which gets happier and vigorous with more water consumption, and sad and slow when sweetened drinks replace water – TummyFish aims to encourage children to choose water over sugary drinks.
First launched in Dubai in 2016, TummyFish is available as a book and an interactive App in both English and Arabic, and has been downloaded more than 250,000 times.
The award-winning storybook and free mobile App are endorsed by the Dubai Health Authority and are constantly promoted as part of healthy hydration campaigns in Jordan and Lebanon with the support of the Royal Health Awareness Authority and the American University of Beirut.
Parents are invited to download TummyFish from the App Store or Google Play.
The related book is also available on the leading regional reading platform Kutubee.
Nestlé Baby & me, Mom & me
Adopting good nutrition habits from an early age is essential to becoming a healthy adult. The Nestlé Baby & me website offers personalized nutrition services to parents in the first 1,000 days of life - from pregnancy through to the baby’s second birthday.
The Program is available in over 50 countries and almost 10 million parents are currently registered. Its services, mainly online, include an engaging e-learning course that turns the latest scientific findings into simple, practical feeding advice.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Baby & me is localized to regional needs under the banner of Mom & me.
A key factor in encouraging healthy habits is to get children excited about nutritious food. Research shows that involving children in food preparation increases the likelihood that they will try more fruits and vegetables.2,11 In 2019, Nestlé launched a global online campaign, #CookTogether, which encourages parents to involve their children in the preparation of delicious, healthy meals and snacks.
By the end of 2020, 450 million parents and caregivers had been reached, including more than 45 million emanating from the Middle East and North Africa.
Nearly 100 nutritious recipes specifically designed for children can be found on the regional Nestlé for Healthier Kids website, and on the Program’s regional Instagram and Facebook pages.
International Chefs Day
International Chefs Day, celebrated annually on October 20, involves chefs from around the world working together with teachers and parents to share their love for healthy cooking and teach children basic healthy cooking skills.
In collaboration with the World Association of Chefs Societies and participation of volunteer chefs, Nestlé has been celebrating International Chefs Day across the world and in the Middle East and North Africa since 2015, as part of ongoing efforts to inspire children to eat healthier.
1. Brown, T.; Moore, T.H.M.; Hooper, L.; Gao, Y.; Zayegh, A.; Ijaz, S.; Elwenspoek, M.; Foxen, S.C.; Magee, L.; O’Malley, C.; et al. Interventions for preventing obesity in children. Cochrane Database Syst. Rev. 2019. 2. Chu YL et al. Overall diet quality was higher among Canadian fifth graders who helped prepare home meals at least once a week compared with those who never helped with meal preparation. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2014;46:304-8
3. Guthold R, Stevens GA, Riley LM, Bull FC. Global trends in insufficient physical activity among adolescents: a pooled analysis of 298 population-based surveys with 1·6 million participants. Lancet Child Adolesc Heal. 2019;4(1):23–35
4. Habib-Mourad, C., Ghandour, L.A., Maliha, C. et al.Impact of a one-year school-based teacher-implemented nutrition and physical activity intervention: main findings and future recommendations. BMC Public Health 20, 256 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-8351-3
5. Habib-Mourad, C.; Ghandour, L.A.; Maliha, C.; Dagher, M.; Kharroubi, S.; Hwalla, N. Impact of a Three-Year Obesity Prevention Study on Healthy Behaviors and BMI among Lebanese Schoolchildren: Findings from Ajyal Salima Program. Nutrients2020, 12, 2687. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12092687
6. Habib-Mourad C and Ghandour LA (2015) Time to act: lessons learnt from the first pilot school-based intervention study from Lebanon to prevent and reduce childhood obesity. Public Health3:56. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2015.00056
7. Habib-Mourad, C., Ghandour, L.A., Moore, H.J. et al.Promoting healthy eating and physical activity among school children: findings from Health-E-PALS, the first pilot intervention from Lebanon. BMC Public Health 14, 940 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-940
8. Habib-Mourad, C.and Moore, H. and Nabhani, Z.M. and Hwalla, N. and Summerbell, C. (2014) 'Health-E-PALS: promoting healthy eating and physical activity in Lebanese school children – intervention development.', Education and health., 32 (1). pp. 3-8. http://dro.dur.ac.uk/13274/1/13274.pdf?DDD45+pzln56+ddpw36+d700tmt
9. Habib-Mourad, C., Hwalla, N. Two-year Intervention and One Year Follow-up of a School-based program to Promote Healthy Behaviors and Prevent Childhood Obesity in Lebanese Children: “The Healthier Kids Cohort Study”. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2019-10-01, Volume 119, Issue 10, Pages A150-A150. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2019.08.170
10. Nasreddine, L. et al. Nutritional Status and Dietary Intakes of Children Amid the Nutrition Transition: The Case of the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Res. Vol 56, 2018.
11. Shim JE et al. Involving young children (2-5y) in food preparation increased frequency of fruit and vegetable intakes. J Nutr Educ Behav. 2016;48:311-7
12. The state of the world's children. children, food and nutrition: growing well in a changing world. UNICEF, New York, NY2019