By Gabriel Olawale
As part of its commitment to promoting nutrition education, active play and fresh foods among underserved children and their families, Hellen Keller International in partnership with the Lagos State government and support from Mondelez International Foundation recently flagged off healthy lifestyle programmes aimed to directly reach 6,000 pupils in Ikeja area of Lagos State.
Speaking in Lagos at the inception meeting, Country Director, Hellen Keller International, Philomena Orji said that the programmes are geared towards creating school and community environments that encourage children and families to adopt lifelong healthy habit.
“The programme is expected to directly reach 6,000 children in primary schools and an estimated indirectly reaches about 48,000 children and their families over the next three years across the Community Development Areas.
“Under nutrition is still a major health problem among school children in Lagos State and there is an emergence of overweight and obesity in the urban areas.
“The Nutritional status of urban and rural primary school pupils in Lagos State show prevalence rates of underweight, stunting and wasting in the rural area (Ikorodu LGA) were 49.6 percent, 50.8 percent and 24.2 percent respectively; while it was 15.1 percent, 16.6 percent and 13.6 percent in Ikeja LGA. Over-nutrition in Ikeja LGA, 15.1percent overweight and 13.2 percent obese.
Also speaking, the organisation’s President/CEO, Kathy Spahn said said they are proud to partner again with the Mondelez International Foundational to implement nutrition education and healthy lifestyle project for government primary schools and communities in Ikeja LGA, Lagos State for a period of three years from 2018 to 2020.
“We came together in Indonesia to improve the well-being of children and their families. We are excited to now brig our combined expertise to Nigeria to encourage and instill healthy habits in children from an early age.
“Making a positive impact on the people and planet is at the core of who we are. Since 2012, our partners and their programs have been transforming the lives of more than a million children around the globe by increasing their nutrition knowledge, physical activity and access to fresh fruits and vegetables.