Nestlé has joined scientific and public health experts in calling for the creation of more community-based programs to prevent childhood obesity. The company took part in the Global Obesity Forum in New York, from June 27–29, to discuss evidence suggesting multi-stakeholder collaborations promoting healthy nutrition and physical activity are among the most successful ways to address the issue. The event aimed to provide international stakeholders committed to the prevention of childhood obesity with an important opportunity to share knowledge and best practices.
It was the first major forum organized by the EPODE International Network (EIN), the world’s largest obesity prevention network. All members of the EIN—which connects community-based obesity prevention programs in 25 countries including Australia, Brazil, Chile, and Poland—were represented at the forum. The network’s goal is to support 40 large-scale community-based programs on five continents by 2015.
“Childhood obesity is a complex problem driven by multiple social, economic, and environmental factors,” said Janet Voûte, Nestlé’s Global Head of Public Affairs. “If we are to tackle this major public health issue effectively, we need a multi-sector response and Nestlé firmly believes industry has a vital role to play in this. We are convinced the best way to leverage our capabilities and expertise is by working in partnership with other organizations to help promote healthy nutrition and physical activity through community-based programs.”
Government officials from a number of countries attended the forum, along with representatives from institutions including the United States’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Trust for America’s Health. Experts from a variety of fields including genetics, behavioral science, economics, and politics also participated.
As a founding partner of the EIN, Nestlé has created the Healthy Kids program. The global initiative is based on multi-partner approaches. It promotes nutrition education, a balanced diet, greater physical activity, and a healthy lifestyle for school age children. Nestlé works together with a number of national ministries of health and education, local governments, nutrition institutes, and national sport federations to develop Healthy Kids programs in more than 60 countries. Globally, the Healthy Kids initiative directly reached a total of six million children in 2011.