Nestlé Partners with DepEd Davao Region to Foster Nutrition Education

11:43 PM

Nestlé Philippines and the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Davao Region have joined forces in a significant step towards promoting nutrition education, aimed at cultivating healthy habits among more than a million elementary and high school students in public schools across the region. This dynamic initiative, encompassing the Nestlé Wellness Campus program, is the result of a collaborative effort between Nestlé Philippines and DepEd to instill vital nutritional knowledge.

The Nestlé Wellness Campus, initially introduced in 2013 across four regions in the Philippines, has since expanded its reach to seven regions, taking root in the DepEd Davao Region during the academic year 2021-2022. Over the past two years, the program has engaged with an impressive 613,922 elementary students and 400,275 high school students from Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, and Davao Occidental.

As a prominent health and wellness advocate, Nestlé Philippines unveiled the Nestlé Wellness Campus to champion sound nutrition practices and an active lifestyle among Filipino students. Jose Uy III, Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs at Nestlé Philippines, remarked, "As the Kasambuhay for Good of Filipino families, we believe in the role that education plays in raising healthy and happy children. When they are properly nourished, students become eager to learn and are able to perform well in school. With this MOA, the DepEd Davao Region has provided us the opportunity to continue with our advocacy of instilling healthy habits among our young students."

The Nestlé Wellness Campus has already left an indelible impact, reaching out to more than 10.5 million students and 400,000 educators from over 21,000 public schools, inspiring a shift towards healthier lifestyle choices. Across seven regions, namely Region 4-A (Calabarzon), Region 5 (Bicol Region), Region 6 (Western Visayas), Region 7 (Central Visayas), Region 10 (Northern Mindanao), Region 11 (Davao Region), and the National Capital Region (NCR), the program has substantially elevated nutrition knowledge and attitudes among elementary and junior high school students.

Dr. Allan Farnazo, CESO III, Regional Director of the Department of Education – Region XI, emphasized, "We are excited to open this new school year with a mindset that will not only focus on our students’ education but also on their overall health and wellness. Through the Nestlé Wellness Campus, our students have a variety of resources that will allow them to practice healthy habits with their teachers and classmates in school, as well as with their parents and siblings at home."

The program's emphasis on promoting "7 Healthy Habits" is rooted in data from the Expanded National Nutrition Survey (ENNS) 2018-2019 conducted by the Department of Science and Technology – Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI). The survey exposed concerning statistics, including that one in four school-aged children suffer from stunted growth. While the prevalence of underweight children decreased from 31.2% in 2015 to 25.5% in the latest survey, the percentage of overweight children escalated from 8.5% to 10.4% during the same period.

To address these challenges, Nestlé Philippines collaborated with experts to create a comprehensive curriculum of seven Healthy Habits: Choosing Nutritious and Varied Options, Portion Management, Adequate Hydration with Water and Milk, Active Play, Shared Meals, Hygiene, and Environmental Care. The Nestlé Wellness Campus also introduces a Dancercise routine titled "Tara! Sama-Sama sa Wellness!" that students can follow during flag ceremonies or physical education classes.

The initiative is further bolstered by two Facebook Communities, tailored for teachers and parents, serving as platforms for nutrition-related discussions through webinars and the exchange of best practices.

The school year is enriched with inter-school and inter-region competitions across four categories, offering students and the school community a stage to showcase their commitment to these seven healthy habits. These categories encompass the Best Implementing School, Hataw: The School Sayaw Showdown, Superstars, and the Sarap-Sustansya Cook-Off. The program recognizes top-performing educators as Superstars, while students can exhibit their culinary prowess and nutritional awareness in the Sarap-Sustansya Cook-Off.

With the Davao Region's integration into the program, noteworthy achievements have already emerged. Tulalian National High School in Davao Del Norte has been consecutively named the Best Implementing School's 1st Runner-Up. Similarly, Tagum City National High School, also from the same province, secured the 1st Runner-Up position in the Dancercise category during the 2022-2023 school year.

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