The Danone Group Unites Experts to Discuss Probiotics, Children's Nutritional Needs at the 18th Int'l Congress of Nutrition

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Sept. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- As the 18th International Congress of Nutrition got underway in Durban, South Africa, Groupe Danone, the parent of The Dannon Company, today commenced a symposium addressing nutrition solutions to the major health problems of pre-school aged children. Groupe Danone will award a prestigious international nutrition prize on September 20 and hold a second symposium to present research findings in the emerging field of probiotics, or "friendly" bacteria, on September 21.

"The 18th International Congress of Nutrition provides an excellent forum for Danone Groupe to bring together the world's top nutrition experts to discuss issues of importance, like childhood malnutrition, and address the emerging science of probiotics and their overall impact on health," said Juan Carlos Dalto, President of The Dannon Company. "The meeting also provides the perfect backdrop for presenting the fifth Danone International Prize for Nutrition to a deserving scholar whose work sheds light on the relationship between under-nutrition and chronic diseases."

Oregon Health and Science University Professor Receives International Prize

At a special reception in Durban, Groupe Danone will honor Professor David Barker of the University of Southampton, United Kingdom and The Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Oregon, with the 5th Danone International Prize for Nutrition. The prize includes an award of Euro 120,000 (USD $147,000).

Professor Barker will be awarded this prize for having developed the innovative concept of the fetal origin of many chronic diseases in adults.

Based on strong epidemiological data, Professor Barker demonstrated that under-nutrition in the womb and during infancy changes the structure, physiology and function of a baby's body. These changes, which tend to persist throughout life, increase the risk of chronic adult diseases, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. His findings suggest new strategies for disease prevention, focusing on the nutrition of young women and the nutrition and growth of their babies and young children.

The Danone International Prize for Nutrition recognizes researchers or research teams who have developed novel concepts in nutrition and contributed to advancing the frontiers of human nutrition. The prize, created in 1997 with the scientific support of the Fondation Recherche Medicale in Paris, France, is a cornerstone program of Danone Institute International, a non- profit association that promotes the exchange of information related to the relationship between diet, nutrition and health.

Symposium Provides Solutions-Oriented Approach to Childhood Malnutrition

Malnutrition is a major threat to the health of young children, and encompasses a range of issues, from under-nutrition to over-nutrition and the developmental and health problems that can result. The causes of childhood malnutrition include socio-economic, environmental, cultural and educational factors.

To address this issue, Groupe Danone hosted a symposium entitled, "Nutrition Solutions to Major Health Problems of Preschool Children: How to Optimize Growth and Development." The symposium "aims to generate a sound exchange on causes, impact and, most importantly, effective solutions," explained Professor Peter Jones, Chairman of the symposium and Vice President of Danone Institute International, which sponsored the symposium.

Leading experts on childhood nutrition from around the world reviewed available data and identified further research needs on the nutritional causes, consequences and solutions related to major health problems of children between the ages of three and six years. The experts also showcased successful initiatives that have improved the health of pre-school children worldwide.

Three U.S.-based experts were among the presenters. Professor Lindsay Allen of the University of California, Los Angeles, discussed issues that impact diet, such as affordability and accessibility; Dr. Milla McLachlan of the World Bank in Washington D.C. addressed the economic aspects of malnutrition; and Professor Ian Darnton-Hill, of UNICEF and Johns Hopkins University, discussed educational and nutritional policies specifically developed to aid children.

Probiotics Symposium Highlights Emerging Science

Literally meaning "good for life," probiotics are "friendly" bacteria that can help impact the balance of bacteria in the digestive tract, where about 70 percent of the body's immune system is located. In a scientific symposium sponsored by Danone Vitapole, Groupe Danone's international research center based in Palaiseau, France, internationally renowned experts will explore the topic of probiotics and human health. The experts will present an update of the health benefits associated with probiotics such as: protection, transit, and nutrients absorption.

Danone Vitapole will also introduce its free educational DVD entitled, "So, Which Bacteria Did You Eat Today?" The DVD uses animation to tell the story of two probiotic bacteria that face challenges on their journey through the human digestive tract.

In December 2004, The Dannon Company launched a comprehensive online information source called The Dannon Probiotics Center to educate consumers, healthcare professionals and the media about probiotics. The Web site includes probiotics news, information and resources. To learn more, visit

About The Dannon Company

The Dannon Company, Inc., is a pioneering and leading producer of yogurt products in the United States. Headquartered in White Plains, NY, Dannon has plants in Minster, OH, Fort Worth, TX, and West Jordan, UT. Dannon is owned by Groupe 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 living and strives to innovate with one goal in mind: to create foods for families and individuals with their health and enjoyment in mind. For more information, please visit

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