By Felicia Imohimi
No fewer than 5,692 children have benefited from Cadbury Nigeria nutrition and healthy lifestyle project as against the 6,000 targeted pupils in nine public primary schools in Lagos metropolis.
Mr Frederick Mordi, the company’s Corporate Communications and Government Affairs Manager for West Africa, disclosed this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
Mordi, who noted that the programme funded and championed by Mondelēz International, cadbury parent company, described the project as part of Mondelēz efforts to address high level of food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.
He specifically noted that 37 per cent of Nigerian children suffered from chronic malnutrition resulting in cognitive and physical deficits.
Mordi further identified under-nutrition as a major health problem among children, particularly in rural areas, while overweight and obesity were emerging health challenges in the urban areas.
“Considering the prevailing nutrition situation among Nigerian children, there is clearly a need to articulate and implement nutrition education programmes to correct malnutrition among school children in the country.
“Since January 2018, with funding from Mondelez International the majority owners of Cadbury Nigeria – Helen Keller International (HKI) has been implementing a three-year strategic nutrition programme across nine public primary schools within our host communities in Lagos.
“The programme has three objectives: to improve children’s knowledge of good nutrition; to improve their nutrition choices and practices; and to improve their physical activity levels,” he noted.
Mordi further noted that Cadbury through the initiative has so far trained 707 parents and teachers to provide nutrition education; revamped school gardens with Vitamin A-enriched maize, pumpkin leaves, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and cucumbers in the nine schools.
According to him, the organisation has as well engaged 450 children in school health and young farmers’ clubs.
“71 per cent of pupils have improved knowledge of nutrition and dietary diversity; 60 per cent of children report being physically active for 30 minutes or longer each day.
“100 per cent of parents interviewed report that their children now demand diverse diets containing ‘move, grow and shine’ foods,” he said.