This was officially announced at a celebratory event at Pudumo Primary School in Orange Farm. The school-based Health in Action programme will reach up to 75 000 children in six disadvantaged areas in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth, to benefit communities where the company’s operations are located. This is a multi-dimensional approach to create school environments that encourage children and families to adopt lifelong healthy habits.

Health in Action is a community partnership to promote healthy lifestyles, address obesity and reduce hunger. The programme supports Mondelez International's Call For Well-being, which is focused on four key areas where the company can make the greatest impact: mindful snacking, sustainability, community and safety.

“Medical studies have shown that South Africa has the highest obesity rate in sub-Saharan Africa so we are proud to bring the Mondelez International Foundation well-being program here to help educate younger children,” says Daniel Lombard, managing director for Mondelez South Africa. “We believe that this program will assist us in using global insights for a local impact and encouraging a future generation to embrace lifelong healthy habits.”

Mondelez South Africa is working with INMED Partnerships for Children to adapt their award-winning program from Brazil to the South African context. “We shall reach thousands of children aged between six and 12 years old in at least 100 primary schools, over a four-year period, with this program of hands-on, skills-based fun activities,” says Lombard. “When they are better nourished and healthier, they will have the vitality to work and study to make their dreams come true.

“Non-communicable diseases, or lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes, high blood-pressure and cardiovascular problems, are increasing dramatically in South Africa. We see this program as offering a boost to the South African public-health goals nationally as well as internationally. The program is aligned with United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals of addressing malnutrition and promoting good health and well-being.”

“I am also delighted that this program will be rolled out in the communities close to our operations in South Africa. This will allow our employees to get involved in the program and provide support and expertise when needed.”

Key elements of Health in Action include:

  • Training selected lead teachers as “multipliers”, capacitated to train their colleagues in the background and implementation of the programme;
  • Improved nutrition and reduced hunger through the establishment of school, home and community gardens, including fish farming, to provide fresh produce and fish protein to supplement school meals; and
  • Increased participation in physical activities, including jobs for local unemployed youth as “recess buddies” who guide safe activity play during school breaks.

Similar INMED strategies in Brazil saw about two-thirds of the children participating improve their body mass index (BMI). About a third of these children achieved a normal BMI.

“We’re proud to partner with the Mondelez International Foundation and Mondelez South Africa to prioritise well-being in South African communities and schools,” says Dr Linda Pfeiffer, INMED president and CEO. “We’re partnering with relevant local and provincial Departments of Education and look forward to working alongside them, as well as teachers, parents and communities, to establish nutrition basics, encourage active lifestyles and expand access to nutritious foods.”

With the launch of Health in Action, the Mondelez International Foundation’s collective program now reaches more than one million children and families across 14 countries, including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Russia.

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