PORT CHESTER, N.Y., Aug. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dannon Company, Inc. today awarded Open Door Family Medical Centers of Westchester County the sixth annual Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant and $30,000 in support of its Fit for Life program. This is the second consecutive year that Open Door has received Dannon's Next Generation Nutrition® Grant for the Fit for Life program.
Last year, more than 2,275 students participated in Open Door's Fit for Life program in conjunction with the Port Chester/Rye Union Free School District. Open Door reported that nearly 80% of students who participated in the Fit for Life program demonstrated an increase in their knowledge of recommended health behaviors in areas such as nutrition and physical activity. Additionally, Open Door reported that, of the 1,600 students whose Body Mass Index (BMI) was measured during their participation in the program, more than half showed some reduction in their BMI. Based on the number of children impacted by this program and the opportunity to impact more children in the coming school year, The Dannon Company is proud to be continuing its support of the Fit for Life program.
During the 2011-2012 school year, Fit for Life will reach 2,900 families and 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.
"Open Door is honored to be the recipient of the Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant," said Lindsay Farrell, president and CEO of Open Door Family Medical Centers. "The Dannon Company is a preeminent brand for healthy nutrition and this partnership with Open Door validates our efforts to build healthier communities and demonstrates The Dannon Company's role as an industry leader in promoting childhood nutrition education within the communities where they are located. We look forward to this partnership."
The Fit for Life program is tailored to curb the alarming recent trend in children's health. According to the New York State Department of Health, 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.
"Addressing the epidemic of childhood obesity requires coordination among schools, parents, government, health care providers, and corporations," said Congresswoman Nita Lowey. "Teaching children about healthy lifestyles – including exercise and proper nutrition – is key to that goal. I am pleased to join Dannon and Open Door Family Medical Centers in our continued efforts to enrich the health of children in New York and nationwide."
"Without question, Dannon and Open Door are addressing one of the most important issues of our time: The very health of the next generation of Americans," said New York State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer. "Educating young people about the benefits of nutritious food, physical activity, and healthy choices will help them lead better lives now and for many years to come."
"Fit for Life has already achieved some impressive results, and it is exciting to hear that this year's program will affect nearly 3,000 students as well as their families," said New York State Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti. "In the push for children's nutrition and wellness, Westchester County is grateful to have such a strong corporate partner in Dannon and such a powerful ally in Open Door Family Medical Centers."
"Dannon is committed to healthy eating and living, and this Dannon Next Generation Nutrition® Grant will allow Open Door to continue to lead a comprehensive program that promotes health and nutrition education, as well as provides stellar clinical resources," said Gayle Binney, Dannon's corporate responsibility manager. "The Fit for Life program will have lasting benefits for the students and families it will reach."
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 5,300 children in Westchester County and have achieved positive results. In April 2011, in part due to its successful grant program, Dannon was awarded the Business Council of Westchester Hall of Fame Award for Corporate Citizenship in recognition of the company's long-standing commitment to helping Westchester citizens lead a healthy lifestyle.
Today's grant ceremony, held during the 5th Annual Port Chester Community Health Fair in Port Chester, NY, was attended by State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer; State Assemblymen Thomas Abinanti and George Latimer; Westchester County Legislator Martin Rogowsky; Lindsay Farrell, president and CEO of Open Door Family Medical Centers; Rebecca Baer, outreach and grants coordinator for Congresswoman Nita Lowey; Gayle Binney, Dannon's corporate responsibility manager; and Michael Neuwirth, Dannon's senior director of public relations.
About Open Door Family Medical Centers
Open Door has received the highest Recognition as a Patient-Centered Medical Home™ (PPC-PCMH™) from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). This ranking distinguishes them from medical practices across the nation as less than 12% are presently eligible to achieve this advanced standing. For 39 years, the federally qualified community health center has served a multi-cultural community and has provided top quality medical, dental care and social services to the Westchester community, particularly the economically disadvantaged. Open Door has four centers in Westchester located in Ossining, Port Chester, Mt. Kisco and Sleepy Hollow. In addition, Open Door operates five school-based health centers in Port Chester at The Edison Elementary School, Park Avenue School, Kennedy Magnet School, Port Chester Middle School and Port Chester High School. In 2010, 43,505 patients were treated at Open Door, making 170,061 patient visits. In the same year 13,842 children were treated. Funding for Open Door Family Medical Centers comes from local, state and federal grants as well as private foundations and individuals.
About Fit for Life
Fit for Life will create an alliance among youth, parents, teachers, health care providers and community partners to teach children and their families to be healthy for a lifetime. The program, which will reach 2,900 children aged five through 18, will focus on encouraging critical thinking about healthy eating habits and physical activity, personal power, and media literacy.
Fit for Life will feature five principal components: a classroom-based health education in issues related to healthy eating and physical activities; a partnership with staff at each school's cafeteria to ensure that healthful lunch options are available; a health ambassador program to encourage critical thinking about healthy eating habits; open access to primary care services; and four one-hour family workshops dedicated to education and wellness. Additional programming will include a series of nutrition and food preparation workshops for children as well as a program that educates youth about career options in the health care sector.
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.
SOURCE The Dannon Company, Inc.