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Encouraging Children To Have Good Hydration Habits

water for children 

Nestlé Waters is internationally active in encouraging children to choose water rather than sugary drinks and is committing to marketing only water to young people.

Educating to encourage good hydration habits

The WHO-EU reports that sugary drinks are often the main source of added sugars in the diets of European children and adolescents. For instance, in the UK, nearly 30% of children’s total energy intake comes from sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices.

Most food and beverage consumption behaviors are learned in the first years of life, so it is important to teach children, at an early stage, to make water their first choice for quenching thirst.

For years, we have collaborated with local governmental authorities around the world to include healthy-hydration content in educational campaigns aimed at children.

Some European initiatives

In Italy, we promote Food Education Italy’s [email protected] website. This educational program, launched in 2015 and aimed at primary schools, highlights the importance of hydration as part of a healthy lifestyle. The attractively designed program includes brochures, video tutorials and games that appeal to children and encourage them to learn. It has reached 8,000 leaders or primary school teachers and around 2,000 pupils have participated in online educational activities.

A highly original concept in the United Arab Emirates

According to the WHO, 43% of children in the Middle East suffer from poor health, though not drinking enough water. Our science-based “Nestlé for Healthier Kids” initiative in the region helps parents encourage their kids to eat and drink more healthily.

As an interactive way to reach children of 4 to 6 years old, we designed and wrote a storybook (in English and Arabic), accompanied by a mobile app, that tells the story of a “Tummyfish” that lives in your tummy and that you must look after by drinking water. Place a smartphone over your child’s tummy and the fish appears on the phone’s screen, looking sluggish if the child has consumed sugary drinks but playful if he or she has drunk water.

Making water fun for kids

We never stop innovating to make water more appealing for children through campaigns that present bottled water in an entertaining or novel way. For example, in Switzerland, Germany and Italy, we introduced limited-edition bottles with caps and labels that glow in the dark at night! What could be more fun for a child? In fact, we are a partner of the Italian Pediatric Society and the Italian launch of our collectable, fluorescent bottles (featuring cute, cartoon-style animal characters), took place at the Milan Children’s Museum, where the Nestlé Vera brand is the official water.

Did you know?

A report published by the WHO in October 2017 reveals that:

  • In 2016, 41 million children under the age of 5 in the world were overweight or obese. Once considered a high-income country problem, overweight and obesity are now on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings.
  • In 2016, over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese. The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents aged 5-19 has risen dramatically from 4% in 1975 to over 18% in 2016.

Obesity is preventable. Converging scientific evidence has highlighted unhealthy hydration habits as one of the key factors in the prevalence of obesity and its related diseases. Educating children early to choose water over sugary drinks helps address this growing problem at its roots.