Dubai, UAE: The Arab culture of generosity is partly behind children’s imbalanced eating habits, according to a new initiative seeking to promote healthier eating and lifestyle choices.
United for Healthier Kids (U4HK) aims to encourage parents to nurture those choices for children aged 4-12. In the UAE, around one-third of children in that age group are overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organisation.
Lack of exercise is one reason — another is eating too much.
“Arab mums have this spirit of generosity; they want to give more to their kids. We don’t want to contradict their spirit. We want to channel it to the right things,” said U4HK Lead Zainab Maktabi.
Zainab is also Nutrition, Health and Wellness Manager at Nestlé Middle East, which launched U4HK in Dubai on Monday. “We also want to say ‘more’, but more of the right things. We don’t want to present it by saying less TV, etc.”
U4HK will “capitalise on the generosity of the Arab culture” to offer “MORE”. Based on research and consultations with paediatricians and nutritionists, Zainab added, four key areas were identified for the UAE and region: MORE Movement; MORE Water; MORE Fruits and Vegetables; and MORE Managed Portions.
A dedicated website, www.U4HK-me.com, has been launched to guide parents and encourage children to achieve those targets through fun and educational ways. Local TV and radio programmes will also be aired under the U4HK drive.
Joining forces with Nestlé Middle East for the programme are MBC Al Amal and Arabian Radio Network.
© Gulf NewsOct 2015