Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation Held the First Workshop Under the Balanced Nutrition Education Project

For Healthier Generations, Nutrition Education Should Begin Early in Life!

The Sabri Ülker Food Research Foundation (SUGAV) and the Ministry of National Education Directorate General of Basic Education co-organized a workshop titled, “The Balanced Nutrition Education Project and Necessity of the Nutrition Education” in Istanbul on April 6, under the Balanced Nutrition Education Project.

At the workshop, participants suggested solutions at the national and international level for future health problems. They also emphasized the importance of raising public awareness regarding health problems that are caused by undernutrition and malnutrition, a global problem. It was stressed that early education plays a significant role in developing healthy life habits and adopting a balanced diet.

Gülderen Özdemir, Head of the Research and Development and Projects Department at the Ministry of National Education General Directorate of Basic Education; Begüm Mutuş, Secretary General of SUGAV; Prof. Tanju Besler, a member of SUGAV Science Committee were among the participants in addition to foreign representatives.

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Education and IT Director Roy Ballam and Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO) Statistician Dr. Paula van Dommelen spoke about the research conducted on the nutrition habits of European children.

The Balanced Nutrition Project, the most extensive and sustainable education program carried on to prevent nutrition-related health problems in Turkish children, is implemented in collaboration with SUGAV and the Ministry of National Education General Directorate of Basic Education.

Launched five years ago, this project has delivered many noteworthy results in helping “develop sufficient and balanced nutrition habits“ to ensure that primary school-age children build quality and healthy life habits. In order to consolidate these efforts, a Balanced Nutrition Workshop was organized to focus on domestic and foreign education programs and other practices on April 6.

Gülderen Özdemir delivered the event’s opening speech. Other workshop participants included Assoc. Prof. Hacı Ömer Tontuş, Deputy Head of the Directorate General for Health Improvement at Turkish Ministry of Health; Begüm Mutuş, Secretary General of SUGAV; Prof. Tanju Besler, a member of SUGAV Science Committee; Roy Ballam, the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) Education and IT Director; and Dr. Paula van Dommelen, Statistician at Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO).

Mutuş: “Nutrition education is a must for kids!”

SUGAV Secretary General Mutuş said The “WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank’s report on child malnutrition dated September 2015, indicates that over 41 million children in the world are overweight whereas and 20.5 percent of Turkish children between the ages 0-5 and 6-18 are overweight. These figures proves the urgency of a balanced nutrition education for school-aged children. Bearing in mind, our objective of becoming an acknowledged institution for healthy life and nutrition in Turkey, we have implemented the Balanced Nutrition Education Project as part of the most extensive nutrition education project in Turkey. The progress we have made during the past five years is promising. We are observing how kids increasingly adopt healthier eating habits thanks to the research we conducted prior to and after this education. We want to ensure that our project becomes a part of the curriculum of the Ministry of National Education, and thereby reaching even more children in Turkey.“

Children receiving Balanced Nutrition Education consume more fruits and vegetables
Egg, vegetable, fruit, milk and diary product consumption rates among children are on the rise based on the outcome of the training given during the 2014-2015 academic year. Preliminary findings of the study suggest that the egg consumption increased from 46.9g to 49.9; vegetable consumption, from 129.4g to 181.2g; fruit consumption, from 216.9g to 244.2g ; milk and diary products consumption, from 301.2g to 328.9g; cereal products, from 163.5g to 178.3g based on the results gained from 150 schools from Istanbul, Izmir and Kayseri. It was also pointed out that number of children doing physical exercise has also increased in the same period.

Education materials were also renewed to be consistent with the project in the 2015-2016 academic year. As part of the renewal process, these materials were categorized into each grade and supported with riddles, crossword puzzles, and other games specifically to acquaint the children with healthy nutrition habits in conjunction with physical exercise. Each teacher and student was given an activity booklet, a practice implemented for the first time this year.

1 out of every 5 British children between the ages of 4 and 5 is overweight
BNF Education and IT Director Roy Ballam shared the data on children’s health surveys being conducted in the UK and Wales under these education projects. Ballam reported that one 1 out of every 5 British children in the 4-5 age group, and 1 out of 3 children in the 10-11 age group is either overweight or obese. The rate of obesity among adults rose to 25 percent between 2010 and 2012, while it was 14 percent for men, and 17 percent for women between the years 1993 and 1995.

Ballam emphasized the significance of the British education curriculum and the place of food-nutrition topics in the curriculum. Ballam also mentioned about the implementation of “A Food- Fact of Life” project, conveying the principles of balanced nutrition to 3 million children in primary schools throughout the UK, with the support of the BNF, which was developed to find solutions to rising obesity and overweight rates.

Early Education is also on the agenda in Germany and the Netherlands
Dr. Paula van Dommelen, a statistician from TNO, provided an overview of the education project implemented in 12 regions along the German-Dutch border for kids between 6 and 10. Dr. Dommelen also pointed out the outcome of a education project that is being implemented in Poland and China, on Turkish students receiving education in Germany and the Netherlands. She conveyed the details of this education, which is a multi-tiered initiative program covering physical activities, nutrition, public health and the development of the physical environment.

Winners of the Balanced Nutrition Project 2014-2015 Best Practices Competition Received Their Awards

The awards were presented to teachers at a ceremony during the Balanced Nutrition Workshop. The workshop focused on the impact of early education on developing healthier nutrition and life habits.


The significance of adequate and balanced nutrition, as well as physical activity for a healthy life is indisputable. We must sow the seeds of nutrition education at an early age in order to make positive lifestyle habits permanent and in order to raise healthy generations. Proposals, guidelines and strategies continue to be developed both in our country and around the world. Click for details


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