Abbott and the Real Madrid Foundation announced the launch of the "Beat Malnutrition" campaign during Real Madrid's final match weekend of the 2022/2023 La Liga season.
The new campaign empowers communities to help children reach their full potential through nutrition education and malnutrition screening, and furthers Abbott's partnership with Real Madrid to reduce global childhood malnutrition.
As the Health Sciences and Nutrition Partner of Real Madrid Football Club and Global Partner of the Real Madrid Foundation, Abbott and the club are working together to tackle malnutrition through programmes at Real Madrid Foundation Social Sports Schools focused on education and malnutrition screening.
Malnutrition affects 1 in 3 people around the world. In Vietnam, a report published by the Ministry of Health in 2021 shows that one in five children under five and around one in seven children from 5 to 19 years old suffer from malnutrition. It is also reported that micronutrient deficiencies among children under five are of high concern, with more than half suffering from zinc deficiency and almost 20 per cent having anaemia.
Malnutrition is a complex issue that not only impacts health, but also economies. It is estimated to cost the global economy upwards of $3 trillion per year. However, every $1 invested in nutrition interventions generates as much as $138 in improved health and increase productivity.
There is no one solution to eliminate childhood malnutrition. However, working to integrate policy action and interventions, across organisations and governments, can help move the needle forward with positive impacts on children’s health, their communities, and also regional economies.
Earlier this year, five UN agencies labelled malnutrition a threat to children's long-term health and development and called for urgent action on the issue. Vietnam has defined its Action Plan for National Nutrition Strategy 2025 with priorities in addressing nutrition challenges including malnutrition, obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies.
"Malnutrition is not always identified early, so it's critical to make people aware and give them the tools to identify it through regular screening and monitoring of children," said Ann Smith, co-lead of the Abbott Center for Malnutrition Solutions. "In partnership with Real Madrid and through the 'Beat Malnutrition' campaign, we're teaching kids about healthy living and training communities to find malnutrition in kids, so they can be referred for additional support and resources."
During Real Madrid's final match weekend of the 2022/2023 La Liga season over June 3 and 4, Abbott and Real Madrid highlighted the issue of malnutrition on a global stage to promote nutrition education and encourage more children to be screened as a first step in beating the affliction.
Prior to kick-off, Real Madrid players and fans wore custom-designed ‘Beat Malnutrition’ armbands inspired by the Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) z-score tape, an innovative and easy-to-use tool that screens for malnutrition in children. Additionally, Abbott will donate more than 10,000 MUAC z-score tapes to communities across the globe in need of the critical tool.
Abbott and the Real Madrid Foundation will also host the first-ever 'Run to Beat Malnutrition' 5K and 10K races in Madrid and virtually through the Abbott World Marathon Majors Global Run Club on Saturday, June 3 to raise global awareness for the cause, with all proceeds going to fund malnutrition education and screening at global Real Madrid Foundation Social Sports Schools. For every runner who participates in the virtual race, Abbott will donate $5 to the Real Madrid Foundation to help fight malnutrition.
Abbott also launched the website BeatMalnutrition.com, featuring key resources on childhood malnutrition and information about the 'Beat Malnutrition' campaign.
Under the Abbott Center for Malnutrition Solutions – a collaboration between the company and external partners focused on reducing malnutrition globally – Abbott works with the Real Madrid Foundation Social Sports Schools to support at-risk children around the world reach their goal of a healthier life.
Activities between the groups include implementing a health and nutrition curriculum called Future Well Kids, created by the Abbott Fund and Discovery Education, and teaches them about the relationship between diet and chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The scheme has created a positive influence in several countries around the world, a testament to Abbott's long-serving, sustainable mission to help shape the future of community healthcare worldwide.
The initiative could be implemented for secondary school pupils in Vietnam soon, following reports suggesting that diabetes patients her are younger than average, with many cases found among children of between 9 and 13 years old and also young people between 20 and 30.
The collaboration also includes training Real Madrid Foundation coaches to use the MUAC z- score tape to help families learn their child's nutritional status, empowering parents, teachers, and coaches to identify at-risk children and help connect them to healthcare professionals and resources to get the appropriate support.
In Vietnam, Abbott partners with Americares and Giao Diem Humanity Foundation to enhance nutrition for children, primarily in the central provinces of Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, where child-malnutrition rates are among the highest in the country. Abbott has also been partners with the Vietnam Women's Union for over a decade to promote the benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding, and to expand healthcare and nutrition education across the country. The programme raises public awareness about healthcare to ensure that Vietnamese people know how to promote healthy pregnancies and breastfeeding, improve the wellbeing of women and children, and establish family health.
To date, Abbott and the Abbott Foundation have invested nearly VND280 billion ($12 million) in Vietnam to help address critical health issues, with a focus on advancing, preventing, and treating chronic diseases, training medical professionals, and raising public awareness about healthcare.
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