MINSTER, Ohio, July 21 The Dannon Company, Inc. today awarded the Ohio FFA Foundation the fourth annual Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant. The Ohio FFA received $30,000 in support of its program, Healthy Habits for FFA and Friends, to provide well-balanced food options and nutrition education for youth across Ohio.
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"Nutrition plays a vital role in the physical, emotional and educational well-being of our youth and Ohio FFA is committed to giving students who are interested in agriculture, the tools they need to live a healthy lifestyle," said Melissa Bell, director, Ohio FFA Foundation. "The Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant will allow us to provide healthy and delicious eating options, combined with nutrition education for all the students visiting Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum."
Healthy Habits for FFA and Friends will engage more than 12,000 children of Ohio FFA's Camp Muskingum through the implementation of healthier menu options combined with nutrition education for campers. 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.
"I applaud Dannon for its efforts to combat childhood obesity," said Governor Ted Strickland. "Improving nutrition and access to healthy food choices and limiting access to unhealthy foods and beverages is one of the highest goals of Ohio's Obesity Prevention Plan. We greatly appreciate the efforts of private companies to help us reverse this trend that threatens the very futures of Ohio's young people."
"Recent data has shown that obesity in Ohio, and throughout the country, remains a critical issue among adults and children," said Ohio State Senator Keith Faber. "It's imperative that young people learn the importance of proper nutrition and exercise early so that they sustain good health into adulthood. Dannon is helping to make this possible."
The alarming epidemic of obesity among children and adolescents throughout the nation is jeopardizing the future health of our youth. Seventeen percent of Ohio third graders are classified as obese and an additional 18 percent are overweight, according to the most recent available data from the Ohio Department of Health.
"Through the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grants, we are committed to helping to reverse the obesity epidemic among our youth," said Gayle Binney, Dannon's corporate responsibility manager. "We are pleased to partner with the Ohio FFA for the Healthy Habits for FFA and Friends program, which will provide campers with healthy meals and teach them the importance of good nutrition and exercise."
Today's grant ceremony, held at the Dannon plant in Minster, Ohio was attended by Governor Ted Strickland's regional representative Alan Bannister and Mayor Dennis Kitzmiller, in addition to other public officials, Dannon employees and community members.
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 each year to four non-profit organizations ($120,000 in total) in Auglaize County, Ohio; Salt Lake County, Utah; Tarrant County, Texas; and Westchester County, N.Y., for programs that nurture healthy eating habits among children. Over the last three years, 4,356 children in Ohio have been reached through Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant funded programs. This year, Dannon's parent company, Danone, will celebrate its 90th anniversary and its longtime mission to bring health through nutritious food.
About the 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. Over $500,000 is generated annually for FFA leadership programs, awards and incentives, helping to support 23,364 members in over 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 www.ohioffa.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, 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 www.dannon.com.
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SOURCE The Dannon Company, Inc.