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Danone International Prize for Nutrition Awarded to U.S. Scientist for Groundbreaking Research on the Impacts of Genetics and Biology on Obesity

Submitted by: Dannon Company, The

Categories: Health & Wellness, Academia

Posted: Jul 11, 2007 – 09:00 AM EST


Jul. 11 /CSRwire/ - WHITE PLAINS, NY, - July 11, 2007 — The prestigious 120,000 Euro (approximately $163,000) Danone International Prize for Nutrition was awarded today in Paris to Jeffrey Friedman, M.D., Marilyn M. Simpson Professor at Rockefeller University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, for his outstanding research on the role of genetics and leptin, a hormone he discovered, in body weight regulation.

Celebrating its 10th year, the Danone International Prize for Nutrition is among the world’s most respected awards within the field of innovative nutritional research, and recognizes scientists who demonstrate innovative research that highlights the importance of nutrition in overall human health. The Danone Institute International selected Friedman through a process involving more than 650 nutrition research institutions worldwide to recognize his pioneering role in nutrition research.

Friedman's acceptance of the 6th Danone International Prize for Nutrition during the European Nutrition Conference in Paris coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Dannon Institute, the United States counterpart of the Danone Institute, which is dedicated to supporting research and education on the relationship between health and nutrition.

By discovering the endocrine function of leptin in regulating adipose (fat) tissue, and demonstrating that appetite and body weight depend on a complex physiological system, Friedman opened the door for scientists to study the relationship between biology and obesity. Friedman remains at the forefront of research, studying the role of leptin and other new compounds in regulating appetite and weight gain.

"I am extremely honored to receive this prestigious award, and welcome this opportunity to discuss the issue of obesity," Friedman said. "It is very important that Americans understand obesity is not a personal failing, and that the obese are fighting an extremely difficult biological battle when trying to lose weight. It is my sincere hope that by advancing our understanding of the genes and genetic variants that cause obesity, we will be better able to help people live healthier lifestyles. Still, patience is called for, as scientific advancements take time—and the translation of those findings in new treatments often takes even longer."

Friedman graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and received his medical degree from Albany Medical College of Union University in Albany, New York. He completed two residencies at Albany Medical Center Hospital, and postgraduate fellowships at both Rockefeller University and Cornell University Medical College. In 1986, he received a Ph.D. from Rockefeller University and joined the Rockefeller University’s faculty as an Assistant Professor. In 1991, he was promoted to Associate Professor and named Head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at Rockefeller. He was promoted to Professor in 1995 and, in 1999, was appointed the first Marilyn M. Simpson Professor. He has been an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1986.

The Danone Institute International was created by Groupe Danone in 1991 to promote research, information and education on diet and nutrition. The Institute created the Danone Institute International Prize for Nutrition in 1997, and has since recognized 6 leading scientists around the world for their accomplishments in nutrition research. There are 17 Danone Institutes worldwide, comprised of more than 250 international diet and nutrition experts; Danone Institutes around the globe are addressing the growing problem of obesity, which was recently recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the top 10 global health problems.

More information: www.danoneinstitute.org

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. The company produces and sells approximately 100 different types of flavors, styles and sizes of cultured fresh dairy products. Dannon is owned by Groupe 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 living and strives to innovate with one goal in mind: to create foods for families and individuals with their health and enjoyment in mind. 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.

For broadcast-standard images and video supporting this press release, visit www.thenewsmarket.com/dannon.

For more information, please contact:

Phone: 212.819.4839

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