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PUTRAJAYA: There is an increasing problem of obesity among school children and a change towards healthy lifestyle is needed to tackle the issue, Deputy Education Minister II P.Kamalanathan said.

Kamalanathan said this after the conclusion of the Nestlé Malaysia Healthy Lifestyle Programme (PCHS) successfully created an impact on attitude and knowledge towards healthy living at 100 day boarding schools nationwide.

The three-year intervention programme from 2012 to 2014 involving over 4,000 students from secondary boarding school, used the Healthy Eating and Be Active among Teens (Hebat) module with 10 topics encompassing nutrition and physical activities.

"We will discuss on how this programme can be implemented in normal schools, because in a day boarding school, the environment is controlled but at a normal school, children are exposed to all kinds of temptations.

"The finding from this programme can help childhood obesity and we want to encourage schools especially teachers master the module.

"After three years, the programme concludes that the knowledge, attitude and healthy lifestyle increased drastically. Students were also adopting more positive habits like eating on time and exercising," Kamalanathan said, adding that there was a reduction in the obesity rate among the intervention groups.

He added the outcome of the programme shows the effectiveness and success rate while including teachers, parents, students and food operators to work together in ensuring the success of the programme.

Kamalanathan also launched the revamped website for the Nestlé Healthy Kids (NHK) Programme (www.healthykids.org.my), which contains educational tools and interactive games for both parents and kids on having a healthy and active lifestyle.

Nestle Malaysia Bhd managing director Alois Hofbauer said that they would like to take the next step in sharing their intervention approach and encouraging research results with the ministry to roll out the programme to more schools in Malaysia.

Prizes were also given out to schools who performed well in the programme as part of the conclusion of the programme.

The PCHS is a collaboration with the ministry and Universiti Putra Malaysia under the Nestlé Healthy Kids Global Programme.

Consisting of two components with the primary school programme (Nestlé Healthy Kids Programme) and secondary school programme (PCHS), almost 10,000 kids nationwide have benefited through the NHK in Malaysia.

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