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The Dannon Company Awards Fourth Annual 'Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grants' Supporting Nutrition Education for Children

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dannon Company, Inc. awarded its fourth annual Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grants, donating a total of $120,000 to four non-profit organizations in support of community-based nutrition education programs for children and their families.

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Through the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grants, Dannon aims to provide needed funding for programs that support child health through improved childhood nutrition. For example, based on funding provided by Dannon in 2006, the New York grant recipient, Hudson River HealthCare, reported that among the children participating in this program there was:

  • A 154% increase in those who ate the USDA recommended number of fruit and vegetable servings per day; and,
  • An 81% increase in those who participated in least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.

Over the past three decades, the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled nationally for pre-school children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-19 years; it has more than tripled for children aged 6-11 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 12 million children in the United States are overweight or obese.

Dannon, whose parent company, Danone, celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, established the Next Generation Nutrition Grants in 2006 to promote childhood nutrition education in four communities where Dannon facilities are located. The grants are integral to Dannon's longtime mission of bringing health through food. As part of the grant program, Dannon contributes $30,000 to four non-profit organizations ($120,000 in total) in Auglaize, Mercer, Darke and Shelby counties, Ohio; Salt Lake County, Utah; Tarrant County, Texas; and Westchester County, N.Y., for programs that teach and nurture healthy eating habits among children. The 2009 Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant winners are:

  • The Ohio FFA Foundation Inc. (Columbus, Ohio) - The Ohio FFA Foundation's Healthy Habits for FFA and Friends program will engage more than 12,000 children of Ohio FFA's Camp Muskingum through healthier menu options, combined with nutrition education for camp goers. The Ohio FFA Foundation will collaborate with nutrition experts to reinforce the importance of a healthy lifestyle and to increase nutrition education. The program will benefit camp participants throughout Ohio and provide special scholarship funding to youth from Auglaize, Mercer, Darke and Shelby counties.
  • The I.J. & Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center (JCC) (Salt Lake City, Utah) - Through its Fun, Fit & Healthy! program, the JCC will offer weekly, nutritionist-developed cooking classes for pre-school and elementary school students, as well as weekly, age-appropriate fitness classes for children ages 2 to 12 years old. The nutrition and fitness classes will also include two workshops, focused on teaching parents about menu planning, portion control, and reading nutrition labels. In addition, the JCC is partnering with the Public Utah Education Network Channel to present a series of films on fitness and obesity throughout the upcoming year. The JCC will also host a family fitness fair in September. Fun, Fit & Healthy! will reach more than 7,000 people in Salt Lake County, especially children ages 2 to 12 years old.
  • Tarrant Area Food Bank (Ft. Worth, Texas) - The Tarrant Area Food Bank received the Dannon Next Generation Grant in support of Operation Frontline, its cornerstone nutrition program. Operation Frontline uses cooking classes to teach nutrition to low-income families so they can maintain excellent nutrition on a limited budget. The Food Bank provides cooking classes, led by volunteer chefs and nutritionists, in partnership with Share Our Strength, a national non-profit focused on ending childhood hunger in the United States. The Tarrant Area Food Bank will provide a long-term solution to hunger and poor nutrition by teaching a six-week series of hands-on classes. Since the program's start in 2007, nearly 500 low-income families have graduated with new knowledge that will help them eat well and stay healthy. This year, the Food Bank estimates that it will serve more than 325 area families and their children.
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Westchester County (Westchester, N.Y.) - Cornell Cooperative Extension's Health and Nutrition from the Garden program will deliver a nutrition education program for approximately 240 local elementary school students, with the goal of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among elementary age children. The program will be led by a registered dietician (RD). CCE is partnering with Hilltop Hanover Farm, a Westchester County-owned regional education center that offers programs on healthy and sustainable food production. Participating students will receive four hours of nutrition education, including a healthy food preparation activity led by the RD. They will also work with master gardeners and trained horticulture staff from CCE to develop vegetable gardens at their schools, where they will plant and harvest crops to use in their food preparation class.

"By educating children about good eating and exercise habits, these programs seek to reverse unhealthy habits that have become too common," said Gayle Binney, Dannon's corporate responsibility manager. "As we celebrate our 90th anniversary of providing better-for-you foods, we're proud that the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grants have helped to build foundations for healthy behaviors for thousands of children and their families. These grants are consistent with our ambition to bring health through food to all people and we're proud to support such a diverse range of child wellness programs."

"Children form habits early in life, which they carry into adulthood," said Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FADA, pediatric nutritionist and associate professor of pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "If we can teach them now about health and nutrition, we can teach them valuable skills for their lifetime -- skills they can also share with their entire family. The wide diversity among the nutrition education activities funded by Dannon represents the complexity of the child obesity issue and the challenges and opportunities for real change in our communities."

Since the inception of the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant program's in 2006, 16 grants totaling $460,000 have been awarded in support of improving child health through nutrition education. Dannon's grants have also impacted nearly 10,000 children over the past three years.

For more information about the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grants please visit

About Ohio FFA Foundation Inc.

The Ohio FFA Foundation (Formerly Future Farmers of America) is a cooperative effort among education, business and industry to support and inspire Ohio FFA members. The Ohio FFA Foundation serves as a resource for state and local FFA affiliates. More than $500,000 is generated annually for FFA leadership programs, awards and incentives, helping to support 23,364 members in more than 300 chapters across the state of Ohio. The FFA is a national organization dedicated to preparing members for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. Local, state, and national activities and award programs provide opportunities to apply knowledge and skills acquired through agriculture education. For more information, please visit

About I.J. & Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center (JCC)

The I.J. & Jeanne Wagner Jewish Community Center has been a vital part of the Salt Lake City community for 90 years. Its mission is to enrich the life of the Jewish community and the community at large by offering educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities in a place where people of all backgrounds, cultures and beliefs gather in peace and understanding. As a child-oriented community center, the JCC offers a renowned early childhood center, the only all-inclusive special needs program in the area, as well as summer camp, after-school programs and a variety of fitness and recreational classes. For more information about the JCC, visit

About Tarrant Area Food Bank

Tarrant Area Food Bank works to eliminate hunger in Fort Worth and 13 surrounding counties by providing food, education and other resources to a network of partner agencies and their communities. In its 17-year history, the Tarrant Area Food Bank has distributed more than 260 million pounds of food and household products to a network of 300 hunger-relief agencies.

In the late 1990s, the Food Bank began offering special programs to complement its food distribution program and today offers nutrition education to individuals and families receiving food assistance, including two different feeding programs for children and free culinary job training for low-income adults. For more information about Tarrant Area Food Bank, visit

About Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County is a dynamic community-based educational organization providing unbiased, research-based information to Westchester County residents of all ages, while offering a wide variety of educational programming and assistance to individuals, families, businesses and communities.

About The Dannon Company

The Dannon Company is America's founding national yogurt company and continually leverages its expertise to develop and market innovative cultured fresh dairy products in the United States. Headquartered in White Plains, N.Y., Dannon has plants in Minster, Ohio, Fort Worth, Texas, and West Jordan, Utah and produces approximately 100 different types of flavors, styles and sizes of cultured fresh dairy products. Dannon is a subsidiary of Danone, one of the world's leading producers of packaged foods and beverages, and Dannon is the top-selling brand of yogurt products worldwide, sold under the names Dannon and Danone.

With a strong commitment to high-quality, wholesome, nutritious and innovative products, The Dannon Company is committed to encouraging healthy eating and healthy living. Danone is a recognized leader for its contributions to nutrition and health and was ranked best in class in a 2008 JPMorgan & Insight Investment study about the response of the world's largest food companies to obesity and health-related concerns. This commitment is also illustrated through The Dannon Company's support of the Dannon Institute, an independent, non-profit foundation dedicated to promoting research, education, and communication about the links between nutrition, diet and health. For more information, please visit

    Media Contacts:    Vanessa Palo
                       Office Tel: (212) 704-4542
                       Cell Tel: (718) 930-2508

                       Jonathan Woods
                       Office Tel: (212) 819-4825

SOURCE The Dannon Company, Inc.
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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