Fit and healthy

Good nutrition is the key to well­ness.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIFESTYLE - By MA­JORIE CHIEW

GOOD food is the foun­da­tion of good life and, good food means the right bal­ance of food, says Peter R. Vogt, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Nes­tle (M) Bhd.

“Good food aside, good (life­style) habits, reg­u­lar ex­er­cise and eat­ing food in re­la­tion to phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity are also im­por­tant. For ex­am­ple, peo­ple who per­form heavy work need more calo­ries than those who sit in front of the com­puter the whole day,” he says.

As the largest food com­pany in the world, Nes­tle is also the lead­ing nutrition, health and well­ness com­pany, Vogt says. Hence, Nes­tle’s tagline Good Food, Good Life re­in­forces the brand’s com­mit­ment to nutrition, health and well­ness.

The brand seeks to help make nutrition, health and well­ness more ac­ces­si­ble to con­sumers through prod­uct in­no­va­tions and com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tives.

Vogt says that the Malaysian Di­etary Guide­lines 2010 and the food pyra­mid help spread the mes­sage on good food. “Eat more food at the bot­tom of the pyra­mid and less of the food at the top!”

To raise aware­ness on the nu­tri­tional quali-

Stay­ing fit as a fam­ily. Be­ing healthy in­volves ex­er­cis­ing and proper nutrition. ty of food, Vogt says Nes­tle has worked with the Nutrition So­ci­ety of Malaysia to pro­duce free ed­u­ca­tion leaflets on nutrition tips, healthy eat­ing and healthy life­styles.

Other than de­vel­op­ing new prod­ucts, the brand also em­barks on nutrition pro­fil­ing of prod­ucts to im­prove nutrition, such as by re­duc­ing sugar level. “Our ready-to-drink Milo has a re­duc­tion of 30% sugar level over a few years be­cause too much sugar is not good for health,” Vogt em­pha­sises, adding that it is a chal­lenge to re­duce sugar level – or salt or fat, for that mat­ter – and en­sure con­sumers like the taste.

The brand has also launched new prod­ucts with spe­cial (health) ben­e­fits, like the pop­u­lar Bliss (a low-fat yo­ghurt drink) with inulin which is good for di­ges­tion or the new Maggi in­stant whole wheat noo­dles, which is a source of fi­bre and is lower in fat con­tent with no added monosodium glu­ta­mate. Even Nes­tum ce­re­als have also in­cluded whole grains.

Nes­tle presents its prod­ucts, gives nutrition in­for­ma­tion and holds prod­uct tast­ings in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions in the coun­try, such as shop­ping malls in Kuala Lumpur, Jo­hor and Sarawak. Other than prod­uct sam­plings in of­fices and su­per­mar­kets, its nu­tri­tion­ists give ad­vice through cam­paigns like Nour­ish­ing Malaysia, which show­cases Nes­tle prod­ucts.

Moth­ers are the brand’s most im­por­tant cus­tomers. “They de­cide what foods to buy and eat and are most concerned about hav­ing a healthy, happy fam­ily,” Vogt says. “Chil­dren ed­u­cated on healthy nutrition will con­tinue such good habits into adult­hood.”

Peo­ple should be mind­ful not to overeat tasty prod­ucts but re­gard them as “treats” to be taken in smaller quan­ti­ties. That is why Nes­tle is pro­mot­ing smaller pack­ag­ing prod­ucts. Kit Kat has been down-sized from mul­ti­ple-stick choco­late bars to a pack of one stick each of 45 calo­ries, so peo­ple can con­trol their calo­rie in­take.

Vogt ad­vises: “Peo­ple should un­der­stand how many calo­ries to eat in a day and try not to go above that. We know we should be eat­ing more healthily or ex­er­cise more reg­u­larly but some­times we for­get,” he says.

How­ever, he feels that the aware­ness level on healthy liv­ing is in­creas­ing and con­sumers are ready for change – to em­brace the healthy life­style.

Even in cof­fee shops, the Ku­rang Ma­nis (Less Sugar) cam­paign seems to be well re­ceived and folks are mak­ing the ef­fort to con­sume less sugar.

Com­pared to two decades ago, he notes there is cer­tainly more aware­ness about healthy prod­ucts and there has been an in­crease in the num­ber of fit­ness clubs and more health ar­ti­cles in news­pa­pers.

“Malaysia has also be­come more af­flu­ent and peo­ple can af­ford to buy more prod­ucts, in­clud­ing those which are high in fat and calo­ries. So we need to pro­mote a healthy life­style.”

Nes­tle’s new print cam­paign called How Am I? is aimed at mak­ing peo­ple think and act in a healthy way, he says. The ini­tia­tive en­cour­ages us to as­sess our per­sonal well-be­ing in a fun way and pro­vide re­sources and in­for­ma­tion to help us change for the bet­ter – at our own pace.

Nutrition, health and well­ness also be­gin at home for Nes­tle staff.

Four years ago, the com­pany started Fruit Day on Tues­days and Thurs­days. A bas­ket of fruits is pro­vided on each floor and em­ploy­ees can pick a fruit to eat. Cur­rent ac­tiv­i­ties are: Stair­case Mon­day (staff to take the stairs on Mon­days) and Ex­er­cise Wed­nes­day. Next month, the com­pany plans to launch its Lunch and Learn Fri­day. Em­ploy­ees also par­tic­i­pate in Healthy Walk cam­paigns. Pre­vi­ously, 100 Days Well­ness Chal­lenge was or­gan­ised for staff keen to slim down.

Vogt leads a healthy life­style. “I swim and go to the gym reg­u­larly,” he says.

Nes­tle’s of­fices oc­cupy the 17th to 25th floor in Surian Tower in Petaling Jaya. Some 700 em­ploy­ees in the build­ing are en­cour­aged to min­imise use of the lifts and take the stairs. A novel way of en­cour­ag­ing staff to use the stairs is through in­ter­est­ing wall mu­rals.

Lo­cal artist Don­ald Abra­ham from Sabah was com­mis­sioned to paint the mu­rals be­gin­ning Oct 4. He is ex­pected to fin­ish the project early next year. On dif­fer­ent floors, the walls have dif­fer­ent health mes­sages on nutrition, health and well­ness.

Nov 21 is World Walk­ing Day and Nes­tle has planned walk­ing events in six dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions – Kuala Lumpur, Pe­nang, Kuan­tan, Jo­hor, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. It in­vites the pub­lic to join in the walk cov­er­ing a dis­tance of 2.2km or 3,000 steps.

How­ever, Vogt says: “It would be ideal if peo­ple can join in groups and walk 1km or 2km ev­ery morn­ing be­fore go­ing to work.”

For com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion ini­tia­tives, Nes­tle teamed up with Univer­siti Ke­bangsaan Malaysia for a study on the eat­ing habits of pri­mary pupils be­tween 2001 and 2002, and 2007 and 2008.

In Au­gust this year, Nes­tle launched Healthy Kids Pro­gramme with the Nutrition So­ci­ety of Malaysia to ad­dress un­der-nutrition and obe­sity among pri­mary school­child­ren. It is an aware­ness cam­paign on nutrition and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity as well as nutrition in­ter­ven­tion. Nes­tle (M) Bhd man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Peter Vogt feels that Malaysians are ready for change – to em­brace the healthy life­style. n For more in­for­ma­tion, check out www.nes­tle. com.my or call Nes­tle Con­sumer Ser­vices toll free line 1­800­88­3433.

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