WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Aug. 18 /CSRwire/ - /PRNewswire/ - The Dannon Company, Inc. awarded its sixth annual Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grants, donating a total of $120,000 to four non-profit organizations in support of their community-based nutrition education programs. The four grants were awarded throughout the month of August, and concluded yesterday with a final grant presentation in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Dannon Company established the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant program to promote childhood nutrition education in each of the four communities where a company facility is located. As part of the grant program, Dannon contributes $30,000 to four non-profit organizations ($120,000 in total) in Auglaize, Mercer, Darke or Shelby County, Ohio; Salt Lake County, Utah; Tarrant County, Texas; and Westchester County, New York.
Since the program began in 2006, 24 grants – totaling more than $700,000 – have been awarded to nonprofit organizations for compelling and influential programming aimed at improving children's health. To date, the grants have reached nearly 18,000 children and their families.
This year's Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant winners are:
- Joint Township District Memorial Hospital (St Marys, Ohio) – Joint Township's Grand Health Family Challenge is a weight loss program developed by the hospital and community partners to reduce childhood and family obesity in Auglaize County and portions of rural Mercer, Shelby, and Allen Counties. The program is a new extension of the hospital's Grand Health Challenge and was a recipient of the David Hendershot Rural Health Promotion Award from the Ohio Hospital Association and the American Heart Association's Gold and Platinum Level Start! Fit-Friendly Awards. Since its creation in 2006, the Grand Health Challenge has helped 1,892 community members lose more than 20,000 pounds.
- Open Door Family Medical Centers (Westchester County, New York) – Open Door's Fit for Life will create an alliance among youth, parents, teachers, health care providers and community partners to teach children and their families to be healthy for a lifetime. The program, which will reach 2,900 children aged five through 18, will focus on encouraging critical thinking about healthy eating habits and physical activity, personal power, and media literacy. Fit for Life will feature five principal components: a classroom-based health education in issues related to healthy eating and physical activities; a partnership with staff at each school's cafeteria to ensure that healthful lunch options are available; a health ambassador program to encourage critical thinking about healthy eating habits; open access to primary care services; and four one-hour family workshops dedicated to education and wellness.
- Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service (Tarrant County, Texas) – Developed in 2006 by Texas A&M University nutrition and health faculty, county extension educators, and third grade teachers, Texas AgriLIFE's Balancing Food and Play will bring an integrated, interactive nutrition and physical activity curriculum to several hundred third grade youth in Tarrant County, Texas. The program will include healthy food demonstrations in classrooms and with parent groups, an eight week walking program, a healthy snack creation poster contest, and more—and will culminate in a family nutrition and health celebration bringing together parents and children to celebrate living healthy lives. Balancing Food and Play will promote several key lifestyles changes for Tarrant County youth, including increased fruit and vegetable consumption, the choice of water as a beverage, at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and the limitation of screen time to less than two hours per day.
- YMCA of Greater Salt Lake (Salt Lake City, Utah) – The YMCA of Greater Salt Lake's Activiate America® is a bold approach to directly addressing the nation's growing health crisis. The goal of the YMCA's 2011-2012 Activate America® campaign is to provide 600 children and 500 families from Salt Lake County with strong fitness and wellness habits that will result in good health, strength, and positive attitudes. The initiative, hosted at five YMCA program sites serving six elementary schools and two junior high schools, will include comprehensive nutrition education and physical activity programming as well as events such as Healthy Kids Day and the Family Fun Run.
Two of this year's winners, Open Door Family Medical Centers in New York and the YMCA of Greater Salt Lake in Utah, received Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grants for the second consecutive year in a row.
In addition to supporting general nutrition education programming, the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grants target an alarming trend in children's health: childhood obesity. According to the American Heart Association, the number of children and teens who are obese or overweight has tripled in the past 25 years to one in three. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Heart Association report that an unhealthy weight can lead to undesirable physical and mental health consequences, and that overweight or obese children are at a greater risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and sleep apnea.
"In light of the rising rates of childhood obesity across the country, it is critical that we teach our children about proper nutrition and how to lead a healthy life," said Gayle Binney, Dannon corporate responsibility manager. "By educating children about nutrition, fitness, and healthy lifestyles, each program funded by the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grants plays a crucial role in protecting the well-being of our nation's youth. These programs will truly bring something for everyone, providing participants with a wealth of opportunities including in-school nutrition courses, outlets for recreational activity, interactive cooking classes, fun family events, access to clinical services, and so much more."
Over the past five years, the grants have produced notable positive results, including:
- The 2010 New York grant winner, Open Door Family Medical Centers, found that nearly 80% of the 2,275 students who participated in the program demonstrated an increase in their knowledge of recommended health behaviors in areas such as nutrition and physical activity. Open Door also reported that, of the 1,600 students whose Body Mass Index was measured twice during their participation in the Fit for Life program, more than half showed reduction in their BMI.
- The 2009 New York grant recipient, Cornell Cooperative Extension-Westchester County, reported cumulative improvements in knowledge of nutrition and gardening among the elementary school students who participated in their Health and Nutrition from the Garden program. Of the elementary school students surveyed, 17 percent increased their knowledge of fruits and nuts and 28 percent increased their knowledge of vegetables and herbs.
- The 2008 Texas grant recipient, United Way of Tarrant County, reported that parents who took part in its Little Bites, Big Steps program showed improved knowledge of portion sizes for their pre-schoolers, and that 80% of parents planned to make changes, such as encouraging more exercise, cooking healthy meals and limiting TV time.
For more information about the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grants please visit http://www.dannon.com/dannoncares.aspx.
About this Year's Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant Winners
- Open Door Family Medical Centers (New York)
Open Door has received the highest Recognition as a Patient-Centered Medical Home™ (PPC-PCMH™) from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). This ranking distinguishes them from medical practices across the nation as less than 12% are presently eligible to achieve this advanced standing. For 39 years, the federally qualified community health center has served a multi-cultural community and has provided top quality medical, dental care and social services to the Westchester community, particularly the economically disadvantaged. Open Door has four centers in Westchester located in Ossining, Port Chester, Mt. Kisco and Sleepy Hollow. In addition, Open Door operates five school-based health centers in Port Chester at The Edison Elementary School, Park Avenue School, Kennedy Magnet School, Port Chester Middle School and Port Chester High School. In 2010, 43,505 patients were treated at Open Door, making 170,061 patient visits. In the same year 13,842 children were treated. Funding for Open Door Family Medical Centers comes from local, state and federal grants as well as private foundations and individuals.
- Joint Township District Memorial Hospital (Ohio) The anchor facility of Grand Lake Health System, Joint Township District Memorial Hospital is a full-service comprehensive care facility located in St. Mary's, Ohio. A charitable non-profit community hospital, Joint Township District Memorial Hospital has been a cornerstone of health care in St. Mary's Auglaize County, and portions of a four-county agricultural area, for more than fifty-seven years. In 2007 and 2009 the hospital was recognized and rated as being in the top 1% of all hospitals in the nation for quality excellence and efficiency, and the Home Health and ER services were ranked among the best in the U.S. With the new expansion of state-of-the-art facilities, development of programs utilizing advanced technologies, and comprehensive services designed to meet evolving medical needs, Joint Township continues to commit to the health and well-being of the Grand Lake Region.
- Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service (Texas) Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service has been improving the lives of people, businesses, and communities across Texas and beyond through high-quality, relevant education for almost a century, working hand-in-hand with its Texas A&M System partners, the state legislature, and the communities it serves. Extension agents focus on local needs through educational programs relating to four core areas: Family & Consumer Sciences, 4-H & Youth Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources, and Community Development. With a vast network of 250 county Extension offices and some 900 professional educators, the Texas AgriLIFE Extension is the largest state extension system in the country, and its expertise is available to every resident in every Texas county.
- The YMCA of Greater Salt Lake (Utah) For 117 years the Y has been listening and responding to communities in Utah, with the mission of providing them with experiences that enhance healthy mind, body and spirit while building strong kids, strong families and strong communities. The Y's vision is to be the leader in understanding and meeting our communities' needs by creating and adapting quality programs and experiences that provide value to youth and families. The Y is and always will be dedicated to building healthy, confident, connected and secure children, adults, families and communities. The Y is continually looking to provide value, to stay relevant and to serve communities in the ways they need most. The Y offers programs, services and initiatives focused on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, according to the unique needs of the communities it engages. In 2010, the YMCA served over 3,690 individuals through its programs. It is through Afterschool Programs, Camp Roger and the Community Family Center that the Y is able to instill its values (caring, honesty, respect and responsibility) and accomplish its vision and mission.
About The Dannon Company, Inc.
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, NY, Dannon has plants in Minster, OH, Fort Worth, TX, and West Jordan, UT 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 people to eat a balanced diet and live a healthy lifestyle. In 2010, for the tenth year in a row, Danone was listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, a worldwide reference for socially responsible businesses. 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 www.dannon.com.