Healthy habits lead to happier and more productive lives. Frequent workouts and a balanced diet can prevent diseases like obesity and diabetes, while exercise and meditation can reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. These healthy habits also have financial benefits since it reduces trips to the doctor.
Starting healthy habits while young is important. The Philippines, however, still faces a problem with nutrition.
Malnutrition continues to be a problem, especially among Filipino children. According to the Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), one in four (26%) school-aged children is underweight. A 2021 survey also revealed that six out of 10 (62%) households experience moderate to severe food insecurity.
To fight malnutrition, it’s important that students have proper nutrition so they can learn, grow, and have energy in school.
The 7 Healthy Habits
Nestlé Philippines recognized the need to play an active role in helping uplift the nutrition of Filipino children. In 2013, it created the Nestlé Wellness Campus, a nutrition education program in partnership with the Department of Education. It focuses on health and wellness education to help address malnutrition among millions of Grade 1 to 10 public school students in the Philippines.
The Nestlé Wellness Campus collaborated with experts to co-create a complete set of downloadable modules about the 7 Healthy Habits. Students are taught the importance of eating items from each of the go, grow and glow food groups in the Choose Nutritious and Varied Options modules, while the Manage Portions modules guide them on the right balance and quantities to eat. Children are also encouraged to Enjoy Meals Together with the family daily. The Drink Water and Milk modules highlight the importance of hydration throughout the day by drinking enough water and their favorite beverages like milk especially after enjoying the physical activities that are suggested in the Play Actively modules.
In addition to taking care of oneself through good nutrition and exercise, cleanliness is also a habit that is taught to the children. Keeping the self clean is discussed in the Keep Good Hygiene modules, and the importance of taking good Care for the Planet is also tackled in a set of modules that highlights solid waste management practices.
There’s also a “dancercise” that can be used during flag ceremonies, in Physical Education classes, or as part of online synchronous activities.
These materials are accessible and downloadable from the Nestlé Wellness Campus microsite of Barangay Nestlé.
To make it more interactive, the Nestlé Wellness Campus has two exclusive Facebook groups where parents and teachers can discuss nutrition-related topics via webinars and exchange best practices to inspire others.
Healthy habits lead to success
The program has touched the lives of more than 10.5 million students and over 400,000 teachers from 21,253 public schools nationwide. It also benefited their families and even their communities.
Today, 55% of public school students have started learning about the 7 Healthy Habits and are on track to living happier, healthier lives.
It is now being implemented in seven regions, including the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 4-A (Calabarzon), Region 5 (Bicol Region), Region 6 (Western Visayas), Region 7 (Central Visayas), Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) and Region 11 (Davao Region).
Here are just some of the concrete ways the Nestlé Wellness Campus has helped Filipino students and communities:
- There has been a significant increase in nutrition knowledge from Grades 4 to 10 students*.
- Students across all grade levels showed an improvement in their attitude and willingness to engage in physical activity, consume more fruits and vegetables, drink water regularly, and eat meals together with their families*.
- The program has helped schools gain access to essential resources to support learning. Last year, the program mobilized Nestlé employees to raise funds and donate needed audio-video equipment and sanitation supplies to 10 public schools where Nestlé operates. The program also donated learning equipment for students with special needs in NCR and Region IV-A in 2021.
- Nestlé Wellness Campus has also supported last-mile schools on their health and nutrition needs and encouraged them to mobilize their stakeholders to effectively reinforce and sustain healthy habits. For example, Palumbanes Integrated School in Catanduanes now has access to clean water thanks to the filtration system provided by Nestlé employees, benefiting over 550 students and more than 130 households. In Camarines Sur, Sta. Maria High School mobilized the local government unit, through the Nestlé Wellness Campus competition, to provide a regular supply of clean water implementation which they shared with 1,600 households.
- Schools have also been encouraged to initiate sustainable wellness initiatives. For example, at Maragondon National High School in Lapu-Lapu City Cebu, the school established its Wellness Day for students which was so successful that even teachers, parents, and officials from the barangay health office, police, and fire departments joined.
As the Nestlé Wellness Campus celebrates its 10th anniversary, it remains committed to helping uplift the nutrition of Filipino children and their families and communities.
* Brandworks Program Effectiveness Study, October 2022 to January 2023
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