Dr Nicklaus awarded the first Danone International Prize for Alimentation

French scientist is awarded the first Danone International Prize for Alimentation for her ground-breaking research into children’s healthy eating.

The award-winning research helps the development of healthy eating habits for life.

Dr Sophie Nicklaus (INRA-CSGA, France) was announced yesterday, June 11, 2018, as the winner of the first Danone International Prize for Alimentation (DIPA), at the annual congress of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston, USA. DIPA is the global award that recognises outstanding, innovative and collaborative approaches to improving food-related health and to develop effective healthy eating strategies.

Nurturing health through the pleasure of eating – the right choices from the start

Dr Nicklaus has dedicated her entire career so far to studying children’s eating behaviour, with the aim of understanding how experiences in the first years of life can lead to the development of healthy eating in later life – and how suboptimal eating habits in school-aged children can be improved in ways other than simply providing nutritional information.

Specifically, her work has focused on expanding our knowledge of how young children learn to like new foods and how this knowledge can be used to encourage them to make healthy food choices, thus giving them the best start in life.

In an interview before the presentation of the DIPA at the annual congress of the American Society for Nutrition in Boston, USA, Dr Nicklaus said:

”We need to empower parents and children to make healthy food choices for life. It is not enough simply to help children to identify which foods are healthy and encourage them to eat them. We also have to take heed of other powerful influences that drive food choices”.
Learn more about Dr. Nicklaus research findings into children’s healthy eating habits here.

A fresh look at food and eating habits.

The driving forces that influence children’s food choices include social, psychological and cultural factors, collectively known as Alimentation.

Through her research, Dr Nicklaus has come to see alimentation as fulfilling several functions:

– Meeting nutritional needs,

– Providing pleasure,

– Building social bonds with family and friends,

– Defining individuals’ identity by creating a sense of belonging, for example, to a social, religious or cultural group.

These functions of alimentation are integrated into Dr Nicklaus’s conclusions and the advice she draws from her research.

Dr Nicklaus now aims to apply her research findings to everyday practice. This means working with healthcare professionals to develop the resources for helping parents set their children on the right path for healthy eating. It also means collaborating with schools and other meal-providers to find ways to empower children to make healthy food choices for themselves.

About DIPA

The Danone International Prize for Alimentation (DIPA) is a 100,000 Euro award set up to recognise multi-disciplinary research that represents a major advance in Alimentation – the umbrella term for all factors influencing people’s food choices, eating habits and food-related health. Open to mid-career emerging leaders in the field, the DIPA will be awarded every two years by the Danone Institute International and the French Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale.

Learn more about Danone Institute here.

To find out more about Danone Nutricia Research nutrition commitments and initiatives to promote healthy eating habits, click here.