Getting the elderly to eat well

Updated: 2012-10-15 08:18

By Li Woke (China Daily)

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 Getting the elderly to eat well

Alessandre Keller (third from right), vice-president of the dairy business unit at Nestl Greater China, with the leaders of All-China Women's Federation and experts at the launch ceremony for the Elderly Care - Health Project on Sept 18 in Beijing. Provided to China Daily

Getting the elderly to eat well

As the population ages, the focus of healthcare will have to change

The world's largest food maker, Nestl, and the organizing committee of the National Community Care Campaign launched the Elderly Care - Health Project on Sept 18 in Beijing. The program aims to take a step forward in nutrition and health education for the elderly in China. It is expected to reach 1 million middle-aged and senior people and eventually benefit 10 million homes housing the elderly.

Starting in September this year, Nestl, as an exclusive partner of the organizing Committee of the NCCC, which is led by the All-China Women's Federation and the National Committee on Ageing, will activate the project in 10 Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Changsha, Chengdu and Nanjing.

The education program will enter urban communities, providing in total 50 health lectures plus heart checks and professional consultations in the cities. In total, 1 million health brochures will be dispatched, reaching 1 million households housing an elderly person within the first year.

"China is aging. It is an imminent issue for us to strengthen health education and guidance on the elderly," said Liu Xiaoping, deputy director of the organizing committee of the NCCC. "We are very glad to cooperate with Nestl to advocate a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle, contributing to our aging society."

Data showed that China has entered the era of an aging society with rising attention paid to health issues for middle-aged and senior citizens. The National Committee on Ageing said that the Chinese elderly population is expected to reach around 300 million in 2015, with seniors accounting for 23 percent of the total population.

"By the end of 2100, namely the end of the 22nd century, the number of China's elderly will surge to more than 318 million, more than 31 percent of the country's population," said Yan Qingchun, vice-president of China National Committee on Aging. Among all health issues that concern senior citizens, the most prominent is cardiovascular health.

"As the world's leading nutrition, health and wellness company, Nestl has paid increasing attention to seniors' health issues over the past years. We believe that the prevention of problems through balanced and nutritious food and beverages as well as an active lifestyle is the key to staying healthy," said Alessandre Keller, vice-president of the dairy business unit for Nestl, Greater China.

"With this initiative, we will start engaging with our society's elderly regarding a healthy and nutritious diet and lifestyle together with the organizing committee of the National Community Care Campaign. Nestl sincerely hopes to be a trusted partner and nutrition expert for the elderly, accompanying them through an everyday healthy lifestyle," said Keller.

Keller added Nestl innovates and develops high-quality healthy foods that promote bone health and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Nestl's innovation is based on its food and health research and development network, which is the largest in the world.

This year, the Swiss food giant will launch milk powders and a series of high quality nutritious food for the middle-aged and seniors in the China market to meet their special nutritional and health needs, such as its Middle-aged and Senior Milk Powder, which contains Omega 3:6 unsaturated fatty acids to benefit cardiovascular health for the elderly.

In 2009, the Ministry of Health launched a nationwide health education program on cardiovascular disease prevention. In response, Nestl hopes to promote public knowledge of the issue. Nestl has cooperated with several government agencies, including the Ministry of Health, the Chinese Nutrition Society and the Chinese Medical Association for the past year.

In addition, Nestl is holding heart checks and consultations for seniors in more than 300 cities within communities and at retail points.

"Good Food, Good Life" is a motto the company promises to commit to every day, everywhere - to enhance lives, throughout life, with good food and beverages.

The company started its business in 1866 in Switzerland. Now it employs around 330,000 people in more than 150 countries and has 461 factories or operations in 83 countries. Last year, Nestl's sales revenue amounted to around 83.7 billion Swiss francs ($85.57 billion), according to the company's website.

In China, the company has invested 8.3 billion yuan ($1.31 billion), hired 14,000 employees and owns 22 factories. Every day, around 7.6 million Nestl products are sold to Chinese buyers, according to the website.

(China Daily 10/15/2012 page22)