• Prevalence of severe Vitamin A deficiency in Kenya stands at 14 per cent while moderate Vitamin A deficiency stands at 61 per cent among children under five years.
• Vitamin A and mineral deficiencies have been estimated to cost Sub-Saharan countries more than Sh200 billion annually in lost productivity.
More than two million children in Western and Central regions have benefited from Blue Band Nutrition Education Campaign to promote healthy living.
The campaign is part of Blue Band’s commitment of equipping 100 million school children in Africa and Asia with education on the importance of a nutritious breakfast.
"As a food and nutrition company, we play a pivotal role in people’s everyday lives. We remain committed to building our business with public health nutrition and wellbeing in mind," said Peter Muchiri, Upfield managing director, East and Southern Africa.
"We believe that what goes into our products can impact people for good, which is why we continually analyse and improve the nutritional content of our products to ensure our consumers can enjoy healthier lives," he added.
Unicef estimates that two million children under the age of five in Kenya are stunted, the most frequent form of under-nutrition.
Muchiri said poor nutrition in children continues to have long-term impacts such as developmental challenges which limit a child’s potential resulting to poor performance in the classroom, impaired daily health, and well-being.
"For instance, Vitamin A deficiency can cause lower immunity and lead to reoccurring diseases. Our products are fortified with vitamins and minerals in line with Unicef standards,” the MD said.
According to the Ministry of Health, prevalence of severe Vitamin A deficiency in Kenya stands at 14 per cent while moderate Vitamin A deficiency stands at 61 per cent among children under five years.
Vitamin A and mineral deficiencies have been estimated to cost Sub-Saharan countries more than Sh200 billion annually in lost productivity.
To address this challenge, Upfield introduced into the market the Blue Band Instant Porridge which is fortified with 10 vitamins and 5 minerals that are essential for the healthy growth of children in line with UNICEF standards.
"Western diets continue to be associated with an increased rate of non-communicable diseases and environmentally unfriendly practices. As a developing market, Africa is susceptible to similar pitfalls but it is also ripe with opportunity to do better," Upfield Africa, Middle East, and Asia President Tim Verbeek said.
Between 2016 and 2019, the Blue Band School Program Campaign has engaged with 3,990 schools, directly reaching 2.5 million children and 1.5 million mothers via USSD.
In the 2022 program, we have reached two million children directly across 4,800 schools in Kenya which translates to educating six million children indirectly.
In keeping with the digital times, Upfield Africa has developed Breakfast Squad, an online digital game that will provide children with an entertaining way to continue learning about the importance of a good breakfast.