Published on January 13, 2008
Food and beverage firm Nestle recently introduced a cartoon character called Lele to promote its "Healthy Thai Children" campaign that aims to teach the young ones about nutrition.
The campaign is being supported by three government authorities; the Department of Health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and The Office of the Basic Education commission (OBEC).
After years of research and co-operation, the group has come up with a new idea about how to talk to children about the importance of nutrition, health and wellness. They've created the Lele animation learning tool to prompt Thai children to learn how to think for themselves on how they should eat.
The key message from Lele, which doesn't just address the young ones but the entire community, is to tackle obesity now, as it's a growing problem in Thai society and one that's likely to get worse. Lele together with the health teaching tools is being promoted through 2,000 elementary schools at Prathom 3-6 levels nationwide, under the management of OBEC. The organisers are also holding seminars for teachers on how to use the learning tools.
Among the massages are "eat various food groups such as vegetables and fruit", "stay away from sugar, fat and salt", "let's find the balance between consumption and burning calories through exercise" and "let's read nutrition facts labels".
Nestle's "Healthy Thai Children" campaign was started in 2004, with a variety of activities launched to help build awareness on balanced diet and wellness. These included road shows; seminars for food operators in school canteens; healthy youth camp contest; healthy ambassador network; knowledge operation mobile unit; teaching tools contests. This new edutainment exercise led by Lele is the latest initiative.
From 2004 through 2006, campaign activities took place in 225 elementary schools and 20 communities and accessed more than 100,000 Thai students. Education kits have been distributed to more than 6,000 schools and received good responses. A recent survey showed that 72 per cent of teachers are using the kits in classrooms and that some 84 per cent of students have changed their attitudes towards eating habits.
The campaign and Lele will move on to battle health problems in Thailand - especially the obesity issue.