Promoting healthy eating and drinking habits among school children

The evaluation carried out in the 2015/2016 academic year is near completion. Early indications from this study support the 2012 Children’s Food Trust evaluation results at 6 weeks, demonstrating a net gain of +5.8% in healthy eating over a 6 week period. This equates to children eating approximately 2 extra portions of fruit and vegetables and 1 less chocolate bar a week. This study also suggested that “Eat Like A Champ” has a more profound benefit on children from more disadvantaged backgrounds: classes with the highest percentages of free school meals reported a +9% net gain in healthy eating compared to +3.2% in classes with the lowest percentages of free school meals.

Danone UK (Dairy and Water) developed an educational programme called ‘Eat Like A Champ (ELAC)’ to promote healthy eating and drinking habits among English school children.

ELAC is a six lesson plan with a focus on a specific topic each week including Nutrients and Water.  Not only is ELAC designed to be consistent with official nutritional guidance and the national curriculum, it is also designed with children in mind. The lessons feature specially designed characters, incorporate videos featuring the ambassador Helen Skelton as well as games and activities like food tastings and supermarket visits.

More than 50% of UK Danone employees volunteered of which 95% gave positive feedback on this activity in the ‘Great Place to Work’ survey. The project has grown from 25 London schools in 2010 to now 1,500 classes across the UK (reaching over 40,000 children each year).

An independent scientific impact study has shown that the course has a positive impact on the eating patterns of the children who take part in it.

ELAC has won several awards including the Business ‘In The Community Big Tick Award’ in 2012.