​Danone accepts the HAKSA challenge

The release of the latest Healthy Active Kids South Africa Report Card has prompted food company Danone South Africa to help children get healthy.

The Healthy Active Kids South Africa (HAKSA) report, released November 29 2018, reinforces the vital connection that healthy lifestyle behaviours have been shown to have a positive impact on children’s cognitive development and school achievement.

The HAKSA Report Card presents the most recent and best available evidence on physical activity and nutrition of South African children between three and 18 years old. A range of indicators is scored by a scientific advisory group.

In one of the 12 local studies cited in the report, South African children had the highest intake of sugar-sweetened beverages when compared to other countries. Parents are cash-strapped and time-poor, and often it’s easiest to give children a couple of rands for a bite at the school tuckshop. As the writers of the report notes: “The healthy choice needs to be an easy choice … in homes, schools, communities, public spaces, and online.”

HAKSA challenges government, the private sector and media, civil society, parents and researchers to work together harder to help promote healthy behaviours among the young people of our country, beginning as early as possible.

“Education is a global equaliser, and nutrition is a key indicator for performance at school. Research shows that better nourished kids do better at school,” says Marlinie Kotiah, head of Corporate Affairs at Danone Southern Africa and a registered dietician.

“The number of areas highlighted in the HAKSA report where we are failing our children is deeply concerning,” Kotiah continues. “The indicator ‘snacking, sugar-sweetened beverages, salt, fast food’ scored an ‘F’, i.e. succeeding with very few children and youth (0% to 20%), for the 2017/2018 period, while nutrition in the school environment was one of a number of indicators that have been down-graded since the 2016 Report Card.

“We’ve accepted the challenge in the HAKSA report. Right now we’re challenging the moms, dads and grans of South Africa to make healthy choices when they buy and prepare food.

“We know they’re all doing their best, but we challenge them to pledge to adopt simple healthy changes and show their commitment by signing the #MillionMoms Pledge.”

Kotiah continues by saying that the pledge is a promise to make sure their kids take these five simple actions:

1. Eat breakfast every day.

2. Eat more vegetables and fruit every day.

3. Have milk, maas or yoghurt every day.

4. Drink more water every day.

5. Move more every day.

“Danone’s stated mission, bringing health through food to as many people as possible, is summed up in the line ‘One Planet. One Health’. Globally, we are inviting people to join a movement for a healthier world. We have many aims in this regard, including reducing sugar content, plastic packaging and waste. It is a long-term journey, but one of the changes we can implement right now is to help parents make healthier choices for their children. Each time we eat and drink, we vote for the world we want to live in. As parents, each time we provide food for our children, we make a choice on their behalf, and we need to ensure these decisions are informed.”

As the HAKSA 2018 report states: “Failure to act will have a significantly negative impact on the health, wellbeing and development of our nation’s children.”

Sign the #MillionMoms Pledge at http://www.knowyouryoghurt.co.za/ and watch the press for details about Day One with Danone.

Managing director of Danone Southern Africa, Hendrik Born, explains that the One Planet, One Health vision expresses Danone’s ambition to reconnect people with the food they eat. Born adds that, being more human in nature, the company brand identity carries a new sense of optimism, embodying positive change while building on the pioneering spirit that the company has always had. In 1972, cofounder of Danone Group Antoine Riboud said: “There is only one earth. We only live once”. Those words launched the vision that lives on today: to bring health through the company and its work.

Riboud explained his vision of the company’s role by stating that economic and social goals are interdependent. This visionary thinking provided the cornerstone for Danone’s dual economic and social project. To this day, our teams around the world imagine operating models that create economic, social and environmental value.

“We are convinced that embracing this movement is the best way to ensure long-term business success,” says Born. “We see our commitment to a radical transformation of our activities to be more local, environmentally-friendly, inclusive and transparent as a fundamental requirement to achieve our objective of profitable, strong and sustainable growth. Recognising our responsibility as a global food company, knowing that we are not perfect and that there is still a lot of work to be done, we call on partners across the agriculture and food ecosystems to join us in our efforts for a healthy future.”

About Danone (www.danone.com)

Dedicated to bringing health through food to as many people as possible, Danone is a leading global food company built on four business lines: Essential Dairy and Plant-Based Products, Early Life Nutrition, Waters and Medical Nutrition. Through its mission and dual commitment to business success and social progress, the company aims to build a healthier future, thanks to better health, better lives and a better world, for all its stakeholders — its more than 100 000 employees, consumers, customers, suppliers, shareholders and all the communities with which it engages.

With its products being present in over 130 markets, Danone generated sales of approximately €22-billion in 2016. Danone’s brand portfolio includes both international brands (Activia, Actimel, Alpro, Danette, Danonino, Danio, evian, Volvic, Nutrilon/Aptamil, Nutricia) and local brands (Aqua, Blédina, Cow & Gate, Bonafont, Horizon Organic, Mizone, Oikos, Prostokvashino, Silk, Vega). Listed on Euronext Paris and on the OTCQX market via an ADR (American Depositary Receipt) programme, Danone is a component stock of leading social responsibility indexes including the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, Vigeo, the Ethibel Sustainability Index, MSCI Global Sustainability, MSCI Global SRI Indexes and the FTSE4Good Index.

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