Blue Band announces kick-off of National Growth Challenge.

Leading Margarine Spread, Blue Band, from the stable of Unilever Nigeria’s food brands, in a bid to encourage proper growth among children through optimal nutrition has announced the start of the Blue Band National Growth Challenge in Nigeria. 

The objective is to draw attention again to school age nutrition and emphasize the role of adequate nutrition for growth amongst school children. The idea is to create some consciousness around growth and promote comprehensive nutrition education among the school children.
The Growth Challenge, done in partnership with the Children of Africa organization and in collaboration with the State Primary Education Boards, Ministries of Health and the Nutrition Society of Nigeria will be carried out across 400 primary schools in Lagos and Enugu states.

Key activities taking place in schools will include nutrition education programmes, an art competition on growth, taking anthropometric or height measurements and assessing cumulative growth in children across 400 schools over the period of the campaign. 

The campaign will also educate parents especially mothers, custodians and caregivers, and scholars on the significance of providing the right nutrition – healthy, varied and adequate diet – for their wards in order that they grow optimally and, demonstrate that when fed the right nutrition, children grow adequately.
Speaking at a press briefing attended by members of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, the State Universal Basic Education Board, amongst others, David Okeme, the Marketing Director, Unilever Nigeria, said that Unilever is proud to be driving the Growth Challenge because “initiatives like this provide an opportunity for us to teach the children who are leaders of tomorrow the right nutrition habits that will help them develop mentally and physically.
Unilever has established a goal of improving the health and well-being of one billion people globally and this initiative can contribute to this goal which aligns with our vision of creating a better future everyday. We believe that every child deserves the nutrition he or she needs to develop to their full potentials.
Explaining the rationale behind the campaign, Vivian Ihaza, Tea and Spreads Category Manager, Unilever Nigeria, said “Experts agree that for children, Blue Band margarine contributes to their growth as it contains essential fats and vitamins. 

The right amount of nutrients in Blue Band such as the Vitamins A, D, E, the B vitamins, niacin, and folic acid in soft fat medium contributes to meeting children’s daily nutrient needs. This is why it has remained consumers’ most popular choice over the years as a tasty addition to main meals as well as with snacks to enliven children’s lunch boxes. 

She further added that adults are not left out as it is used also as a nutritional and tasty ingredient for eating, cooking and baking. Ihaza stated that the Growth Challenge will be an exciting platform for parents and children to learn about proper nutrition and its implication to their overall health.
Victor Ajieroh, the Unilever Nutrition and Health Manager for West Africa noted that while the brand carries out a lot of intervention to the nutrition of children under five, paying attention to school age children is also important, in the context of nutrition through the lifecycle, and neglecting their nutritional needs can compromise their growth and development. 

He reiterated that the Blue Band sponsored National Growth Challenge will promote the right knowledge and behaviors for adequate nutrition and growth among school children.
The Blue Band National Growth Challenge which is the first of its kind in Nigeria has being carried out in other African countries such as Ghana and Kenya, and will be overseen by nutritional experts in Nigeria. The campaign would reach about 100,000 children, creating nutrition awareness for growth and development. 

Source: Maryann Balogun