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Dubai enlists Nutricia for grassroots infant healthy-eating initiative

By RJ Whitehead , 19-Apr-2017

© iStock
© iStock

Dubai health officials have called on Danone’s infant nutrition brand to support its drive to persuade parents to adopt health eating habits for their toddlers.

Local meal delivery service Right Bite Express will also join Nutricia in the initiative, which sets out to teach nursery teachers and parents in the emirate about better childhood nutrition.

The Dubai Health Authority’s aim is to instil a taste for healthy, unprocessed foods in children at a formative age, said Ahmad Bin Kalban, who will lead the year-long project. 

This will prevent them from developing childhood obesity, which is a global health concern,” said Dr Bin Kalban added.

According to Hans Van Der Wulp, general manager of Nutricia Middle East: “Scientific evidence shows that the nutrition a mother and child receive during the first 1,000 days—from conception until two years of age—can significantly influence health in adulthood and is a unique window of opportunity.” 

He added that optimal nutrition during this period could reduce the chances of non-communicable diseases in later life. 

The first phase of the “Healthy Plate Mates project”, aims to bring on board 1,000 children aged 2-5 from six nurseries in the emirate. Right Bite Express will provide healthy meals which parents have the option buy for their children. 

"Promoting healthy and hygienic lifestyles among different segments of society lies at the heart of the health authority’s development strategy, which is mainly aimed at ensuring proper nutrition concepts and prevention of diseases," said Humaid Al Qatami, the DHA’s director-general.

Also featuring in the project project will be applied training in nutrition for teachers and nursery staff, who will receive a 22-week healthy eating curriculum. Willing parents will also undergo training. 

The authority will also distribute educational material and kid-friendly healthy eating games such as flash cards so that toddlers can learn about healthy eating in a fun and interactive manner.

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