TO EFFECTIVELY communicate the message of proper nutrition and drinking milk when it visits schools around the country, Laki Sa Gatas seeks the help of nutritionists who could speak the language or dialect spoken in that specific area.

"The Laki Sa Gatas team holds lectures using the first language or mother tongue of the children, mothers, and teachers in the schools they visit so that they could easily grasp the concepts that we are trying to communicate," said Javi Medina, marketing promotions and events manager for Bear Brand Powdered Milk Drink.

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For this school year, Laki Sa Gatas lectures and activities were done in Kapampangan, Ilonggo, Cebuano, and Bicolano, among others.

"Conducting the sessions for children, mothers, and teachers in areas outside Metro Manila not only helps our target audience better understand the importance of proper nutrition and drinking milk more effectively, it likewise encourages them to freely participate in the activities that we conduct," Medina said.

When Laki Sa Gatas went to Pulong Santol Elementary School in Pampanga, for instance, its team of nutritionists used Kapampangan in its lectures. Similarly, when it visited Himamlayan Central School in Negros Occidental, it used the Negrenses' local language Ilonggo.

In Cabinuangan Central Elementary School in Davao, the lectures were delivered in Cebuano and in Banquerohan Elementary School in Legazpi City, Bicolano was used during the sessions.

Aside from using local languages of the provinces it visits, the Laki Sa Gatas team also uses visual aids and educational materials to effectively teach proper nutrition. In the Mothers? Session, for example, participants are provided with a meal planning guide so they could prepare healthy and affordable meals everyday.

During the Kids' Session, meanwhile, fun activities and games are conducted to teach the importance of having Go, Grow, and Glow foods in one's diet.

Laki Sa Gatas' Kids' Session also encourages kids to drink milk everyday as it is a good source of essential nutrients that they need for optimal growth. It has Calcium and Protein that help develop strong bones and muscles. Some milk brands, meanwhile, are fortified with key nutrients like Zinc, Vitamin C, and Iron that help strengthen body resistance.

Schoolchildren are also given "Ambition Glasses" with colored pencils and paper that the kids can use in drawing the profession the like to pursue in the future.

Mothers and teachers also have their own sessions with a licensed nutritionist. In the Mothers' Session, parents are taught effective meal planning and incorporating Go, Grow, and Glow foods to their families' meals.

In the Teachers' Session, on the other hand, educators are given tips on how to address malnutrition in their class and how to make health and wellness discussions more interesting to younger students.

The alarming case of malnutrition in the country is the reason why Nestle Philippines Incorporated through Bear Brand Powdered Milk Drink initiated the Laki Sa Gatas nutrition education advocacy in 2006. One of the key messages of the advocacy is drinking milk as part of a healthy diet.

Since it started, Laki Sa Gatas has visited close to 3,000 public schools across the country and has reached out to almost 1.5 million kids; more than half a million moms; and thousands of teachers as of this writing.