Nestlé Philippines and the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Davao Region signed today a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that solidifies their partnership on nutrition education to teach healthy habits to over a million elementary and high school students in public schools in the region. This will be implemented under the Nestlé Wellness Campus, the nutrition education advocacy program of Nestlé Philippines made possible through the support of DepEd.
The Nestlé Wellness Campus was initially implemented in 2013 in four regions across the Philippines. It has since expanded to seven regions and was adopted by the DepEd Davao Region in School Year 2021-2022. Over the last two years, the program has reached 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 leading health and wellness company, Nestlé Philippines launched the Nestlé Wellness Campus to help promote good nutrition and an active lifestyle among Filipino students. “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,” said Jose Uy III, Senior Vice President and Head of Corporate Affairs of Nestlé Philippines.
To date, the Nestlé Wellness Campus has inspired more than 10.5 million students and 400,000 teachers from over 21,000 public schools to make healthier choices. The program has helped improved the nutrition knowledge and attitudes of elementary and junior high school students 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 National Capital Region (NCR).
“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,” said Dr. Allan Farnazo, CESO III, Regional Director, Department of Education – Region XI.
Promoting 7 Healthy Habits
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) showed that one in four (24.9%) school-aged children is stunted. While the prevalence of underweight children among this age group significantly decreased from 31.2% in 2015 to 25.5% when the latest ENNS was conducted, the number of overweight children went up from 8.5% to 10.4% during the same period.
To help address this, Nestlé Philippines together with various experts co-created a complete set of modules about the seven Healthy Habits, namely: Choose Nutritious and Varied Options, Manage Portions, Drink Water and Milk, Play Actively, Enjoy Meals Together, Keep Good Hygiene and Care for the Planet. The Nestlé Wellness Campus also prepared a Dancercise titled “Tara! Sama-Sama sa Wellness!” that students can follow during flag ceremony or in Physical Education classes.
Two Facebook Communities, one for teachers and the other for parents, further serve as platforms to discuss nutrition-related topics via webinars, as well as to exchange best practices to inspire other members.
Meanwhile, inter-school and inter-region contests across four categories are held throughout the school year to provide a venue for the students and the school community to showcase their efforts in living out the seven healthy habits. These are the Best Implementing School, Hataw: The School Sayaw Showdown, Superstars, and Sarap-Sustansya Cook-Off. Best performing teachers are awarded as Superstars, while students show-off their cooking skills and knowledge of delicious and nutritious meals in the Sarap-Sustansya Cook-Off.
Since the Davao Region joined the program, Tulalian National High School in Davao Del Norte has already been named Best Implementing School, 1st Runner-Up for two consecutive years. Tagum City National High School, also from the same province, was recognized in the Dancercise category as 1st Runner-Up in School year 2022-2023.