BANGKOK, 20 February 2019 – Central Group and UNICEF today launched the #EatPlayLove - The Miracle of the First 1,000 Days of Life, a campaign to enhance knowledge of parents around the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. Starting from conception, the first 1,000 days is a crucial period and a window of opportunity for shaping the baby’s brain, laying the foundation for lifelong learning.
The campaign features #EatPlayLove travelling expo, which will be exhibited across the country to provide knowledge and parenting tips on how to provide the best care for children during the first 1,000 days. The expo also highlights the three critical elements of positive and nurturing care that children need in the early moments of life: appropriate and nutritious food, play and stimulation, love and protection.
“We are glad to be part of this very important campaign to raise awareness on the importance of this critical period,” said Pichai Chirathivat, Executive Director of Central Group. “Central Group has been working with UNICEF during the past three years to reach parents, families and public with knowledge on child care. Supporting children’s development is part of Central Group’s social projects “CENTRAL Tham” which focuses on improving livelihood and well-being of employees and society, including children, women and people with disabilities.”
Thomas Davin, UNICEF Representative for Thailand, said that the Expo showcases what the private sector can do to enhance early childhood development in Thailand.
“Central Group is utilizing its resources and ability to reach and interact with the public, to support expectant and young parents in learning practical tips on caring for their babies during the most critical first years of life. Private companies can start by introducing family-friendly policies to their employees, including longer paid parental leave, supporting breastfeeding mothers, and offering quality and affordable nursery care for employees’ young children,” said Davin.
Advances in neuroscience have proven that the first 1,000 days present a critical window of opportunity to shape the development of a child’s brain. Good nutrition, protection, play and love in early childhood spark the neural connections in children’s brains. These neural connections determine a child’s cognitive ability, their health and happiness, how they learn and think, their ability to deal with stress, and their ability to form relationships.
Despite recent progress in early childhood development in Thailand, many young children still do not get the care they need. According to a 2015-2016 survey on the situation of women and children in Thailand, conducted by the National Statistical Office with support from UNICEF, around 230,00 children under 5 are stunted; while 1 in 10 babies has birthweight less than 2,500 grams, lower than the average newborn weight, which reflects mother’s nutritional status during the pregnancy.
Better investment in the first 1,000 days, therefore, will contribute to long term human development benefits in the country, by ensuring that children will receive better nutrition, care and stimulation, love and protection during the most critical period of their brain development.
The event launched today was attended by high-profile supporters and celebrities including Anand Panyarachun, UNICEF Thailand Goodwill Ambassador, Supatra Chirathivat, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Social Responsibility at Central Group, Dr. Chompoonut Topothai, Medical Officer at the Department of Health as well as Bussakorn “Ek” Hongmanop and Rasri “Margie” Balenciaga Chirathivat.
The mobile expo will be open from 19 February until 26 February 2019 at Central World, Bangkok. The expo will then go on the road for a total of ten months, ending in early December 2019. It will be set up at ten other locations across the country: Central Plaza Pinklao, Central Plaza Ladprao, Central Festival Phuket, Central Festival Samui, Central Festival Chiang Mai, Central Plaza Rama 2, Central Plaza Khon Kaen, Central Festival Pattaya, Central Plaza Chiangrai and Central Festival Eastville.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.