« Living longer, but living better » says Danone Nutricia GM’s for Healthy Aging


Michel Albrecht is General Manager for Healthy Aging partnership at Danone Nutricia France. Here is his tribune on healthy aging:


The world population is aging


In 2050, half of it will be over 50. And in Europe, ten in a hundred people will be octogenarians. At present, age too often goes hand in hand with loss of independence. This fact constitutes a huge issue for European societies, particularly in its impact on public finances. Hence the urgent need to think up innovative solutions to prolong the period of autonomy: we are living longer, and we need to be able to live better.

As Daniel Carasso recommends, « Go on dreaming while keeping your feet firmly on the ground! » In 2011, Nutricia France set up a partnership with the Siel Bleu association, in order to design a program for maintaining or regaining independence. This is in direct line with the European Healthy Ageing program launched in early 2011, which aims to enable elderly people in Europe to gain two years of independence by 2020. Through its subsidiary Nutricia Advanced Medical Nutrition, Danone is the only private company to become a partner of this program, where it represents the food sector.

Our partnership with Siel Bleu is notably based on the clinical observation which holds that regular physical activity, associated with an appropriate diet, makes it possible to reduce sarcopenia (physiological phenomenon whereby muscle fiber in older people is replaced by adipose tissue). Since 1999, the Siel Bleu association has been proposing low-cost physical activities to frail people – the elderly, the handicapped and those afflicted by chronic disease. The association has branches in France, Belgium, Ireland and Spain. It takes action in 2,500 old people’s homes each week, and welcomes 70,000 people to its weekly sport classes. Nutricia France rapidly saw the advantage of an enduring partnership with this association, which offers frail and sick people the benefits of an appropriate diet and regular physical exercise.

Nutricia France and Siel Bleu thus devised a program combining sport and nutrition with support from geriatrics specialists and experts from the Fonds Danone Ecosystème. This program is based on the “Eat well, move more, live longer” principle.

The projects arising from this partnership include the NutriSiel offer, combining sport with dietary advice. Aimed at retirement homes, this project has benefited from the participation of several well-known geriatrists. To date, it has also enabled 250 sports educators to be trained on nutrition! Associations and retirement homes, although governed by different economic models, are driven by the same desire to improve the daily lives of people who have become frail. For Danone’s Medical Nutrition Division, these projects are also an occasion to develop a strong connection to key actors in charge of Healthy Aging.

Michel Albrecht, April 19th, 2012.

Photo © Shutterstock / StockLite

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