It is estimated that up to 5.6 million school-going children in Malaysia face the double burden of malnutrition. The double burden of malnutrition is defined as the coexistence of both undernutrition and overnutrition in the same population across the life course. In short, malnourished children run the risk of becoming obese adults.
Worryingly, vision issues are also on the rise among Malaysian children with myopia prevalence among children at age seven at 9.8%, rising to 34.4% at the age of 15. While some eye problems are inevitable for various reasons, others can be attributed to a lack of proper care.
To assist with these issues, Ayam Brand, the 131-year old household name famed for its wide range of quality, preservative-free, no added MSG, healthy, and convenient canned food, is back with its annual Community Care Campaign 2023. Themed #AyamBersamaMu with the concept of ‘Add Health with Ayam Brand’, it will reach out to more than 1,000 children from 25 non-governmental organisations across seven states to provide a two-month supply or approximately 35,028 healthy meals.
Going beyond the contribution of its products, Ayam Brand in collaboration with KPJ Healthcare Berhad (KPJ Healthcare) will be running nutrition workshops to educate these children on healthier dietary choices following the 3S (Suku-suku Separuh) Malaysian Healthy Plate concept. To address vision issues among these children Ayam Brand is working with Focus Point Group to provide free eye health screening, and prescription glasses to children who require from these homes.
Each participating home products that are high in protein, calcium, Omega-3 and fibre including Ayam Brand Tuna Mayonnaise, Ayam Brand Baked Beans in Tomato Sauce and Ayam Brand Soya Flakes Spread.
“The risk of double malnutrition, and myopia among Malaysian children requires action from all parties who can assist including organisations such as Ayam Brand. This is why we stepped up to help. Ideally all children should have good nutrition from birth. Ayam Brand has a long history of contributing our healthy and nutritious products to communities, and we are continuing in that commitment. However, we believe that while providing our products is an immediate solution, over the long term, educating children on making healthier food choices is the key. Our fish products are high in protein, calcium, Omega-3, DHA among other vitamins and minerals that children need for good health, including eye health,” said Teoh Wei Ling, A. Clouet (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.’s Marketing Manager.
Studies conducted by Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) found that Ayam Brand Sardines in Tomato Sauce was shown to have 7.1X more Omega-3 compared to home-cooked locally caught fresh sardines and Ayam Brand Mackerel in Tomato Sauce contains a whopping 7.6X more Omega-3 compared to an equivalent serving of home-cooked locally caught mackerel.
Wei Ling also adds that “the Ayam Brand Community Care campaign which is now in its 16th year has contributed more than 2.1 million healthy meals for charity, providing nutritious food to more than 27,293 people from 610 charity homes and NGOs”.
In Johor, a total of 204 children from Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak-anak Yatim Johor, Pusat Kebajikan Kalvari Johor and Asrama Kebajikan Ar Rayyan participated in the Add health with Ayam Brand #AyamBersamaMu workshop that was held at KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital.
Children learned about making healthier dietary choices through an informative and engaging session with Lim Zetong, KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital’s dietician on the Malaysian Healthy Plate, with an introduction to the importance of Omega-3 for their eye health. Next, each child put their new knowledge into practice by preparing themselves a healthy snack following the Suku-suku Separuh concept, guided by the KPJ and Ayam Brand team.
“Proper nutrition is important for children’s overall well-being, especially the consumption of protein for growth and development. One of those good protein sources is from fatty fish like tuna, saba, sardine, and mackerel, with good sources of Omega-3, which is vital for children’s brain development and eye health. Since our body cannot produce Omega-3 on its own, we need to obtain it from the foods we eat. One should consider consuming at least 2 servings of fatty fish weekly,” says Lim.
The children also participated in memory matching and ball toss games, which allowed them to practise their visual recall and hand-eye coordination as a way to reinforce what they had learned at the workshop. Members of the winning team each received a medal, while all participants received gift bags.
The team from Focus Point was onsite to provide eye health checks to all children. Those who require will receive their prescription spectacles soon after.
Representatives from the charity homes expressed their gratitude for Ayam Brand’s continued support, and for the transformative impact it will have on the lives of the children.
“We always look forward to the Ayam Brand Community Care campaign. Ayam Brand products are delicious, nutritious, and a nice change from our usual meals and we are grateful for this support. We also look forward to the program itself because it is fun, educational, informative and fires up the children’s interest and passion for being healthy and eating well. The addition of prescription spectacles is very welcome, as some of the kids have myopia but glasses are expensive. This contribution will help them see a better future,” said Norita bt Bisni, Penyelia Pertubuhan Kebajikan Anak-Anak Yatim Johor.
To find out more about the #AyamBersamaMu community care campaign, visit https://www.ayambrand.com.my or https://www.facebook.com/ayambrandmalaysia.