'Eat Like A Champ' is a free, evidence-based healthy eating education program aimed at primary school children aged 9-10 years – Year 5 (England and Wales), Primary 6 (Northern Ireland) and P6 (Scotland). The aim of the campaign is to tackle the growing issue of poor nutrition and obesity amongst children through six specially-tailored lessons about healthy eating, hydration and staying active. The concept of ‘Eat Like A Champ’ is to make healthy eating exciting and to inspire children to adopt the healthy choices of champions they admire. Through these specially-tailored lessons, 'Eat Like a Champ' encourages children to make small shifts towards healthier habits that contribute to sustainable behavioral change.
Why does it matter ?
Given the pressing social issue of poor nutrition and child obesity in the U.K., Danone believes they have a role to play in promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle as part of their corporate social responsibility agenda. In England, one in three children is overweight or obese at age 11. If current behaviors do not change, 90% of the population will be overweight or obese by 2050, costing the U.K. economy £50 billion.
At Danone, we wanted to inspire primary school children across the U.K. to lead healthier lives—but to succeed, we would have to find a way to get kids excited about nutrition education.
How does it work ?
We have developed a six-week unbranded healthy eating primary school education program available through a free digital resource toolkit.
The programme is principally designed for children aged 9 to 10, but is easily adaptable for other year groups. It is supported with a comprehensive toolkit and website for participating teachers. The toolkit contains a thorough teacher’s guide designed to complement the current U.K. school curriculum. It includes 6 ready-to-use lesson plans, worksheets, lesson support and learning aids for teachers, parents and carers .
‘Eat Like a Champ’ has also run celebratory events with Danone volunteers and celebrity ambassadors, such as the dance group Diversity and the Children’s TV celebrity Helen Skelton. These events help to reward and inspire classes that have participated in the program.
How does it create value ?
Independent research by the Childrens' Food Trust in 2012, demonstrated that children who took part in ‘Eat Like A Champ’ shifted their behaviors towards healthier eating habits. Specific changes were equivalent to the consuming of one less chocolate bar per child per week and to that of consuming two more portions of fruit per child per week. A further study was carried out in 2015/2016 which supported these results.
The content of ‘Eat Like A Champ’ was written in collaboration with the British Nutrition Foundation who ensures that the lessons are of the highest possible standard, up to date with the latest government guidelines, and complement primary school curriculum throughout the U.K. In particular the 2016/17 resources have been updated to reflect Public Health England’s changes to the Eatwell Guide. It was again updated in 2018 to take into account minor changes in the national curriculum.
The programme demonstrates Danone’s commitment to playing its role in broader public health debates and initiatives as well as its credibility as a trusted partner in health topics.
In 2018, Danone brought together a digital development company and a recognized independent public health nutrition expert to develop an on-line evaluation tool designed for teachers to measure the progress of their classes and to provide a mechanism to evaluate the continued effectiveness of the programme.