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The United for Healthier Kids movement, which aims to instill healthier habits in children, was launched in Pakistan at an event organized by Nestlé Pakistan where various partners came together to pledge “behtar kal, aaj se” – a better future for Pakistan’s children.

Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Planning, Development and Reform, speaking at launch of United for Healthier Kids initiative

United for Healthier Kids is a behavior change movement for children aged 3-12 years, where partners such as Nestlé Pakistan, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, Lahore Grammar School, Jang Media Group, Geo Network, Service Sales Corporation, Silver Oaks School and Parwaan, among others. The movement aims to help parents establish healthier eating, drinking, and lifestyle habits in children through game-changing education and fun ideas to inspire action and influence behavior.
The nutritional and health conditions in Pakistan have reached an alarming level over the past decade. Currently, Pakistan has the third highest number of children suffering from stunted growth; 43.7% of the total children under the age of 5 suffer from it. 15.1% are wasted and 31.5% are found to be underweight.

The United for Healthier Kids movement will work closely with its partner organizations to address three major behaviors – Move More Sit Less, Choose to Drink Water and Choose Nutritiously Varied Food Options – by not only creating awareness and educating parents’ on different obstacles but also outlining proposed solutions for raising healthier kids.

Speaking at the launch event, the chief guest Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Planning, Development and Reform, said, “A healthy nation is pivotal to economic and social development, which is one of the major pillars in the Vision 2025 plan, and our collaboration with the United for Healthier Kids movement is a step in the same direction. Our government is committed to realizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which seeks collaboration between government and private sectors. Our partnership is in the spirit of synergizing resources of public and private sectors for a healthier Pakistan. We thank Nestlé Pakistan for bringing this initiative to Pakistan.”

Mr. Bruno Olierhoek, Managing Director Nestlé Pakistan, added, “We strongly believe that the health challenges our children face cannot be tackled by a single organization or entity but only through a multi-stakeholder approach. We are grateful to the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, as well as our other partners for coming on board with this movement and giving us their valuable support. We are committed to making Pakistan a healthier society by utilizing all the resources at hand.”
Mr. Bruno Olierhoek, Managing Director Nestlé Pakistan speaking at the launch event

The launch event was attended by stakeholders from the government, diplomats, media, the non-profit sector, and parents. The event consisted of a panel discussion led by Sidra Iqbal. The discussion revolved around health conditions in Pakistan, the importance of fitness and exercise, and the dire need to address the problem of nutritional deficiencies.

Others present included Mr. Imran Aslam (President, GEO Network), Mr. Sarmad Ali (Managing Director, Jang Group), Dr. Shagufta Feroz (Nutritionist), Mr. Shahid Hussain (CEO, Service Sales Corporation), Ms. Mehnaz Aziz (CEO, Parwan/ Children’s Global Network) and Mr. Abid Imam (Member, Lahore Grammar School Board of Directors). 

United for Healthier Kids is an initiative which was started globally to eradicate the factors leading to poor health of children. Under this initiative, the movement will work closely with all the major stakeholders to determine the obstacles that stand in the way as well as the solutions for a healthier childhood.

United for Healthier Kids started its journey with New Mexico which is facing a high prevalence of overweight and obesity, with the Ministry of Health endorsing the campaign and the help of a local broadcasting company the movement started receiving positive results. Philippines became the second stop for United for Healthier Kids which has a very high prevalence of stunting. United for Healthier Kids partnered with Public as well private sectors including the National Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) and Central Bank of Philippines to spread the message across the country. UAE became the third country to have United for Healthier Kids campaign, with the help of MBC Al Amal Group and Arabian Radio Network.

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