VALHALLA, N.Y., June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dannon Company, Inc. awarded Open Door Family Medical Centers of Westchester County the fifth annual Dannon Next Generation Nutrition Grant. Dannon presented Open Door with a $30,000 check during the "Fun & Fitness Health Summit," which was sponsored by Dannon and hosted by 103.9 WFAS at The Cliffs at Valhalla. The grant will help fund Open Door's Fit for Life program.
The Fit for Life program will reach 2,500 families and their children, ages 5 through 18, who are enrolled in Open Door's school-based health centers in the Port Chester/Rye Union Free School District. The program will create an alliance among youth, parents, teachers, health care providers and community partners in order to teach students and their families how to lead healthy lifestyles. The goal of the program is to encourage students to think critically about healthy eating habits and physical activity.
"At Open Door, we believe that everyone has a right to a healthy lifestyle," said Lindsay Farrell, President and CEO of Open Door Family Medical Centers. "The Fit for Life program will prepare students to make healthy choices. With Dannon's grant we can strengthen our partnership with the Port Chester/Rye Union Free School District and provide students with health education, promote nutritious cafeteria lunches and a support system to be healthy for a lifetime."
For over 28 years, Open Door has been committed to providing affordable health care and human services to the Westchester community, especially the economically disadvantaged. Open Door is the medical home for over 40,000 working families; each day, 800 patients are served at one of its centers. In 2009, the school-based health centers alone provided medical services to 9,559 students in the Port Chester school district.
"Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health threats facing our state and country," said Congresswoman Nita Lowey. "To meet this challenge, parents and children must have access to exercise and nutrition options that can help them get healthy. That is why I have introduced legislation that would help parents and schools reduce the obesity epidemic. Open Door's program is a great step, and I am pleased Dannon is doing its part to support the Fit for Life program."
Over the last four years, programs funded through Dannon's Next Generation Nutrition Grant have reached more than 2,800 children in Westchester County and have achieved positive results. The 2006 Next Generation grant recipient, Hudson River HealthCare, reported to Dannon a 154% increase in those who ate the USDA recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables, and an 81% increase in those who participated in at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. These results were achieved through Hudson River HealthCare's Rx for Fitness program. Other Westchester organizations that have received nutrition education funding from Dannon include Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County and Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc. (WestCOP).
According to the New York State Department of Health website, obesity among children and adolescents has tripled over the past three decades and reached epidemic proportions in the state as well as across the nation.
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 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.
"Dannon is committed to encouraging healthy eating and living, and the Next Generation Nutrition Grant will allow Open Door to lead a program that promotes healthy lifestyles in the community," said Gayle Binney, Dannon's corporate responsibility manager. "The Fit for Life program will have lasting benefits for the 2,500 students and families it will reach."
Today's grant ceremony, held during the Fun & Fitness Health Summit at The Cliffs at Valhalla, New York was attended by Congresswoman Nita Lowey and Westchester County Legislator Thomas Abinanti. Also in attendance were Lindsay Farrell, president and chief executive officer of Open Door Family Medical Clinics; Gayle Binney, Dannon's corporate responsibility manager; and Philippe Caradec, Dannon's vice president for regulatory and corporate affairs.
About Open Door of Westchester County
Founded in 1972, Open Door was first operated as a free clinic, staffed by nearly 100 local volunteers. Today, a professional staff of more than 60 delivers quality health care at four Open Door health centers in Port Chester, Ossining, Mount Kisco, Sleepy Hollow and four Open Door school-based health centers in Port Chester, at The Edison Elementary School, Kennedy Magnet School, Port Chester Middle School and Port Chester High School
Open Door is a top rated Patient-Centered Medical Home recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), a ranking that distinguishes it from medical practices across the nation as less than 12% are presently able to achieve this advanced standing. The federally qualified community health center serves a vast multi-cultural community and has provided top quality medical, dental care and social services to the Westchester community, particularly the economically disadvantaged, for 38 years.
In 2009, approximately 41,000 patients were treated at Open Door, making nearly 200,000 patient visits. Over 13,483 children were treated during that same year. Funding for Open Door Family Medical Centers comes from local, state and federal grants as well as private foundations and individuals.
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 2009, for the ninth 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.
SOURCE The Dannon Company, Inc.