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The Dannon Company Awards Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service the Sixth Annual Dannon Next Generation Nutrition(R) Grant

$30,000 Grant to Fund Balancing Food and Play Program Supporting Physical Activity and Nutrition Education for Third Graders and Their Families

Submitted by: Dannon Company, The

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions, Community Development

Posted: Aug 17, 2011 – 06:52 PM EST


FORT WORTH, Texas, Aug. 17 /CSRwire/ - /PRNewswire/ - The Dannon Company, Inc. today awarded the sixth annual Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant to Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service, supporting the implementation of its Balancing Food and Play physical activity and nutrition education curriculum into Tarrant County Schools. Dannon presented the organization with a $30,000 check during an afternoon event that also featured a healthy-cooking demonstration by Connie Swearingen, executive chef to Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Since 1915, Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service has provided quality education designed to improve people's lives, with health and nutrition issues as a top priority. One of its signature programs, Balancing Food and Play, was developed in 2006 by a team of health specialist faculty at Texas A&M University, Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service educators, and third-grade teachers to promote healthy nutrition and daily physical activity for school children and their families.

"Education is key in addressing the issue of childhood obesity," said Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service Tarrant County Director Dana Tarter. "The Balancing Food and Play curriculum provides classroom education related to healthy food choices and physical activity for children and targets parents with the same messages through take home activities and parent newsletters.  The Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant will allow for the strengthening of local partnerships so that we may work together in addressing the issue of childhood obesity."

Balancing Food and Play will address an alarming recent trend in children's health. Rates of obesity among children and adolescents have reached epidemic proportions in Texas as well as across the nation. According to a report released by the Texas comptroller, 20.7 percent of Texans ages 10 to 17 were obese, compared with 16.4 percent nationwide. Additionally, a 2007 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that 54.8 percent of Texas students did not meet the recommended levels of daily physical activity.

To counter this, the program will promote several key lifestyle changes including increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, increasing water consumption over other choices, at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and limiting screen time to less than two hours per day.

"Childhood obesity is one of the greatest threats to the health of Texas youth," said Congresswoman Kay Granger. "Strong, results-oriented programs like Texas AgriLIFE's Balancing Food and Play are essential in getting our children's health back on track."

"Childhood obesity – with its troubling medical, emotional, and psychological side effects – is a serious health concern not only in Texas but across the nation," said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. "Dannon and Texas AgriLIFE have my thanks for being leaders in the ongoing push to curb rising rates of this condition."

"Dannon has a commitment to healthy living that goes far beyond the production of delicious and nutritious foods," said Gayle Binney, Dannon's corporate responsibility manager. "With Dannon's support, the Balancing Food and Play program will provide students with fantastic educational opportunities and outlets for physical activity. The program's extra focus on adult nutrition education means that parents—often the decision makers when it comes to buying food—will also gain knowledge and insight about how to keep families healthy.

Dannon established the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant in 2006 to promote childhood nutrition education in each of the four communities where a Dannon facility is located. As part of the 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, for programs that nurture healthy eating habits among children. Over the last five years, programs funded through the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant have reached more than 1,860 children in Tarrant County.

Today's grant ceremony, held at the Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service Tarrant County office, was attended by Fort Worth Councilman Daniel Scarth and Tarrant County Director of Public Health Lou Brewer, as well as Barbara Ragland, district director for U.S. Congresswoman Kay Granger; J. Collin McLochlin, deputy regional director for U.S. Senator John Cornyn; and Patricia Bostic, development director for U.S. Congressman Michael Burgess. Also in attendance were Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service Director Dana Tarter; Executive Chef to the Texas Governor, Connie Swearingen; Dannon Corporate Responsibility Manager Gayle Binney; and Dannon's Fort Worth, Texas Senior Plant Director Roger Post.

About Texas AgriLIFE Extension Service

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.

About Balancing Food and Play

Developed in 2006 by Texas A&M University nutrition and health faculty, county extension educators, and third grade teachers, 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.

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.

For more information, please contact:

Ashley Dennis Edelman
Phone: (212) 277-3759
Phone 2: (646) 764-9362
Michael Dirda Edelman
Phone: (212) 277-4320

For more from this organization:

Dannon Company, The


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