Dubai Promoting Healthy Food for children :
Hot on the heels of the launch of newly-developed nutritional guidelines for school canteens that advocate the exclusion of all junk food, hypermarkets across Dubai have initiated a drive to actively promote healthy eating to children.
With an estimated 36% of children in UAE suffering from obesity, * the move is the clearest indication yet that retail outlets acknowledge the problem and are committed to educating children and families of an appropriate diet, whilst incentivizing them to develop a healthy eating plan with healthy food.
As part of the Dubai Municipality’s Best Hypermarket Awards, the scheme has been designed to tackle childhood obesity and increase the nutritional intake of children across the UAE. The scheme is being run in tandem with the launch of new nutritional guidelines that will ban school canteens from selling junk food from the start of the new 2017 academic year.
Promoting Healthy Food in Dubai
Designed to directly appeal to children in the very environment that will get children and parents thinking about their diet, Are they eating healthy food? choosing to focus awareness inside hypermarkets is a shrewd way of getting children and parent to think about food as they’re buying. But, perhaps what’s more encouraging is the method in which the scheme has adopted to appeal directly to children.
Through a series of colorful videos and interactive sessions, children learn the importance of a healthy diet. Six nutrition characters have been designed to educate children and emphasize the importance of moderation and food groups. The characters showcase the nutritional benefit of each food group and include almond, banana and broccoli characters in addition to fish, wheat and yogurt characters.
Recognising today’s tech-savvy children and the benefit of an interactive learning experience, the scheme is certain to engage children. It allows them to be an active participant in a fun experience, whilst learning about the food groups they should be eating to avoid obesity, diabetes and other health complications associated with poor diet.
The Opinion of Leading Experts
Leading medical and healthcare professionals in UAE have praised the scheme for its vision and overall message.
Shugufta M. Zubair, the senior food safety awareness support officer in Dubai said, ‘the aim is to help children to enjoy healthy eating by identifying with fun characters which represent food heroes.’
He went on to state that hypermarkets are the first point of food contact for families. Children’s diets are dictated by what is available to them at these stores and given the high rate of childhood obesity across the UAE. Dr. Zubair reasoned that hypermarkets are an obvious place to educate children and parents about healthy eating.
Which Hypermarkets Promote Healthy Eating?
Cloithrams in Dubai has invested in the scheme, already displaying healthy eating messages through screens and leaflets in eight of their 21 branches. The nutritional characters are introduced on mounted eye-level screens, displayed on shelves across the stores.
The Lulu Group stores also feature large LED screens that will display videos and tips on how to adopt a healthy eating lifestyle, whilst the hypermarkets will feature cut-outs of the healthy eating characters to draw children’s attention and educate them on the benefits of a healthy diet.
What’s clear is that the UAE is dedicated to helping children learn healthy eating habits from an early age. As further evidence of this, hypermarkets will also post nutrition tips on their social media platforms to encourage children to substitute that sweet, sugary snack for a snack that’s not only tasty but, has significant nutritional value.
This is just the beginning of a process that intends to help children in Dubai enjoy a better quality of life, be healthy and, ultimately learn positive eating habits that they will carry with them into adulthood.
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