WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Aug. 14 At a check presentation ceremony today, The Dannon Company, Inc. awarded Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Westchester County with the fourth annual Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant. CCE received $30,000 in support of its program, Health and Nutrition from the Garden.
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"We believe that getting children out of the classroom and engaging them in fun, hands-on activities is one of the best ways to teach the core principles of good nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle," said Barbara Sacks, CCE's executive director. "With this grant from Dannon, we can develop and offer additional nutrition education for local elementary school students. These programs, including gardening activities and food preparation workshops, will provide students with lifelong skills they can use to keep fit and healthy."
With funding from the Dannon Company, CCE aims to hire and train a registered dietician (RD) to 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. CCE is partnering with Hilltop Hanover Farm, a Westchester County-owned regional education center that offers programs on healthy and sustainable food production.
The program will be offered under the title Health and Nutrition from the Garden. 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.
CCE has almost 40 years of experience in providing nutrition education programs to a variety of audiences throughout Westchester County, including working with limited income audiences under the federally funded Expanded Food and Nutrition Program and Eat Smart New York!, also known as the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program.
"Obesity is a critical issue that our communities must address by educating children on good nutrition and health," said State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer. "I commend Dannon and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester for playing an important role in that effort."
"With childhood obesity a critical issue in Westchester and nationwide, it has never been more important to encourage proper nutrition and physical activity among our local children," said Assemblyman Adam Bradley. "Dannon and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester are to be applauded for leading this effort."
As a result of Dannon's support, the Next Generation Nutrition Grant-funded programs have reached more than 2,600 children in Westchester County during the last three years and have garnered positive results. Among participants in the 2006 grant recipient program, Hudson River HealthCare's Rx For Fitness reported 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.
The alarming epidemic of obesity among children and adolescents throughout the nation is jeopardizing the future health of our youth. An estimated one in four New Yorkers under the age of 18, or approximately 1.1 million young people, is obese according to the most recent data available from the New York State Department of Health.
"Dannon is excited to partner for a second time with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester to promote good nutrition among Westchester's youth," said Gayle Binney, Dannon's corporate responsibility manager. "We are pleased that the Dannon Next Generation Grant is making this community-based effort possible and we believe it will yield dividends for many years to come."
Today's grant ceremony, held at Dannon's U.S. headquarters in White Plains, New York, was attended by State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, State Assemblyman Adam Bradley and Westchester Deputy County Executive Susan Tolchin. Also in attendance were Barbara Sacks, executive director, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County; Sandy Antonioli, nutrition program director, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County; Gustavo Valle, Dannon president and CEO; and Dannon's corporate responsibility manager, Gayle Binney.
Dannon established the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grants in 2006 to promote childhood nutrition education in each of the four communities where a Dannon facility is located. As part of the grant, Dannon contributes $30,000 to four non-profit organizations ($120,000 in total) in Auglaize County, Ohio; Salt Lake County, Utah; Tarrant County, Texas; and Westchester County, New York, for programs that nurture healthy eating habits among children. This year, Dannon's parent company, Danone, will celebrate its 90(th) anniversary and its longtime mission to bring health through nutritious food.
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, New York., 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 www.dannon.com.
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SOURCE The Dannon Company