Almost 70% of the UAE population don’t eat a balanced, nutritious breakfast every day

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Staggering statistics revealed at launch of new educational, healthy eating initiative Arla Food Moovers

  • Her Excellency Jameela Al Muhairi, Minister of State for General Education UAE, and His Excellency Esben Lunde, the Danish Minister of Food and Environment in attendance at the launch
  • The initiative was piloted at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park to inspire good food habits and Arla plans to roll this educational curriculum out to more UAE school classes in 2018.

20 February 2018, Dubai, UAE: Almost 70% of UAE residents don’t eat a balanced, nutritious breakfast every day according to new research commissioned by Arla. The staggering findings were announced to coincide with the launch of Arla Food Moovers, an innovative lesson curriculum with the aim of encourage children to re-think their eating habits. The initiative has been piloted at Dubai British School with the first topic primarily focusing on the breakfast culture of schoolchildren.


Arla Food Moovers aims to empower school children to take care of their health through hands-on education about food. The teaching tools are developed by the Arla Foundation in cooperation with a range of experts including a chef, two teachers and a professor in health and pedagogics. As part of the program, the pupils are asked to select a problem or challenge which they experience in their daily life and come up with a solution.

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Today’s launch event is the culmination of a pilot lesson plan in which school children (10-11 years old) from Dubai British School Jumeirah Park discovered the challenges they have when it comes to eating breakfast and how to overcome them, while the two participating schools in Denmark focused on lunch. Videos made by each of the classes will be showcased and watched by Her Excellency Jameela Al Muhairi, Minister of State for General Education UAE, and His Excellency Esben Lunde, the Danish Minister of Food and Environment as part of an international competition. The jury will then select the winning video based on two categories: ‘problem solving and innovation’ and ‘communication’.

Speaking about the initiative, Anette Holm, UAE General Manager at Arla Foods said, “One of the central tenets of the Arla Food Moovers initiative is to empower children to re-think and actively understand their own food choices, and for children to understand where their food comes from. This program goes beyond teaching children the importance of eating a balanced meal. Arla Food Moovers equips children with the knowledge and understanding of their food to give them responsibility for their own health. Education is key in ensuring children are learning good food habits.”

In conjunction with this initiative, a recent YouGov survey, commissioned by Arla, found that UAE residents are not giving enough focus to breakfast, even though it is commonly cited as the most important meal of the day. The two biggest barriers reported by residents were a lack of time (29%) and inspiration for breakfast ideas (15%).  Furthermore, 75% of UAE residents reported only spending 15 minutes or less preparing and eating breakfast a day, and over half (54%) would skip breakfast or eat it on the go when time is limited.  According to Anette Holm, these results outlines the vital need to focus on incorporating hands-on food education into lesson plans to help children maintain balanced eating habits into adulthood.

Speaking at the event, the Danish Minister of Food and Environment, His Excellency Esben Lunde, added, “It’s rewarding to see children from both the UAE and Denmark inspired about this important global issue. It’s a pleasure to visit the UAE and to be a part of the Arla Food Moovers launch, and I look forward to hearing how this program will evolve further to empower more children to take responsibility for their food choices. It is important that both politicians and business help solve the global issue with childhood obesity.”

Arla, who designed the educational initiative which has been rolled out across 200 schools in Denmark, is committed to supporting and enabling healthy and balanced lifestyles through the nourishing products under its brand portfolio. This ties in with Arla’s recent launch of Arla Organic Milk as part of its commitment to make organic accessible and affordable to families in the Middle East.

Following the success of the pilot program, Arla hopes to launch Food Moovers across more schools in the UAE throughout the year to inspire good food habits for all in the UAE.

*YouGov survey

Research was conducted by a YouGov omnibus survey with a sample size of 1,000 respondents in the UAE during February 2018.

**Please note, Thumbay Group, Gulf Medical University, and HEALTH magazine are not liable nor responsible for the facts, figures, and overall content of the press releases on our portal.

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