Dubai Educational Zone Honors Teachers & Supervisors Implementing “Ajyal Salima” Nutrition Awareness Program

Dubai, 5 July 2015: The Dubai Educational Zone has honored 48 teachers and supervisors from 19 public schools for successfully implementing the “Nestlé Healthy Kids Program – Ajyal Salima” in fourth and fifth grade classrooms.

The Program aims to enhance nutrition knowledge and encourage better eating habits and physical activity among students. It was first launched in Dubai Educational Zone schools in the 2012-2013 academic year, with the support of the Dubai Health Authority and Nestlé Middle East. It reached 10 schools during its first year of implementation, before expanding to all 29 public schools in Dubai during the 2013-2014 academic year.

“The Dubai Educational Zone considers enhancing awareness of healthy nutrition among students and increasing their level of physical activity to be very important,” said Dr. Ahmad Eid Al Mansouri, Director General of the Dubai Educational Zone. “The Program has helped support these objectives with easy to implement activities that teach through playing, and we commend the schools as well as physical education teachers for implementing it.”

Developed by the American University of Beirut to answer to regional community nutrition issues, Ajyal Salima has so far reached over 16,000 students in the Middle East since its initial launch in 2010. 

In addition to Dubai, the Program is being implemented in Lebanon, where it was first launched in 2010 and adopted last year as part of the Lebanese Education Ministry’s school health unit curriculum following scientific evidence* it significantly enhances children’s nutrition knowledge and improves their eating habits; and in Saudi Arabia, where it was launched in 2014. 

“Ajyal Salima is a prime example of the benefits derived when various sectors come together to support education and healthy lifestyles,” concluded Karine Antoniades Turk, Creating Shared Value Manager at Nestlé Middle East. “The Program is among the many practical steps Nestlé is taking to implement our recently published 20 forward-looking commitments to society in the Middle East, which include promoting healthy diets and lifestyles.” 

The Program’s curriculum encourages the intake of a balanced and varied diet; fruits and vegetables consumption to five or more a day; breakfast and healthy snacks intake; and regular physical activity; as well as controlling high fat, high sugar foods and beverages intake; and reducing time spent watching television, on the computer or playing video games. 

*References: 
  1. Habib-Mourad C., Ghandour L.A, Moore H.J, Nabhani-Zeidan M, Adetayo K, Hwalla N, Summerbell C. Promoting Healthy eating and physical activity among school children: findings from the Health-E-PALS, the first pilot intervention from Lebanon. BMC Public Health 2014, 14:940 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-940
  2. Habib-Mourad C., Moore H.J, Nabhani-Zeidan M, Hwalla N, Summerbell C. Health-E-PALS: promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in Lebanese school children – Intervention development. Educ Health 2014,32. http://sheu.org.uk/x/eh321chm.pdf.