PepsiCo Launches Health Program for Latin American Infants

pepsico-150x150WASHINGTON — Today, on the eve of World Food Day, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the PepsiCo Foundation launched Sustained Program to Improve Nutrition (Spoon), a five-year program designed to simultaneously prevent undernutrition and reduce the risk of obesity in babies living in poor areas of Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.  Paradoxically undernutrition and obesity are interrelated conditions.  Spoon is the first regional project of its kind that will address both challenges in tandem.  Studies have demonstrated that weight and height in the first two years of life play a critical role in a child’s future growth and in the prevention of lifelong obesity.

IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno and PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyiunveiled the new program this morning at an event in Washington, D.C., and the leaders spoke about the importance of working together on strategies to alleviate the undernutrition and obesity that affects millions of poor households across Latin America. Moreno and Nooyi were joined by health authorities from participating countries and partner organizations, including Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Nutriset, at the signing of the collaboration agreement for the future work.

“Undernutrition and obesity-related health problems are rising sharply in Latin America, and they place a growing burden on our healthcare systems and budgets,” said IDB President Moreno. “Ensuring that infants get proper nutrition to grow and become healthy and productive adults is our shared responsibility. By participating in the Spoon Project, PepsiCo Foundation is making a great contribution towards our efforts to become a healthier region.”

At PepsiCo, we believe we have a key role to play in forming public-private partnerships designed to improve the health and nutrition of communities. Spoon is an important step toward addressing critical nutrition challenges facing many in Latin America,” said Nooyi.  “PepsiCo, our Foundation and the IDB have a history of successful partnership, and when we come together, bringing our collective expertise, capabilities and resources to bear, we can have a significant impact on major societal issues.”

Studies show that optimal development in the early years is a direct result of adequate infant feeding practices, which include the quality and quantity of the diet. Despite progress in improving its health indicators in recent years, Latin America still experiences a high prevalence of chronic malnutrition, which affects nearly seven million infants under the age of five1.  Undernutrition hinders a child’s ability to learn and reach his or her full potential as an adult.  At the same time, rising incomes across the region have correlated to an increase in childhood obesity. Almost four million Latin Americans under five years old are either overweight or obese2, increasing their risk of suffering chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease in adulthood.

Spoon will focus on improving infant feeding practices, including breastfeeding, and promoting the use of a nutritional supplement that contains vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids children need during their first 6 to 24 months of life. The project will develop a behavioral change strategy to encourage parents and caregivers to adopt healthy feeding habits. Spoon will also integrate its nutrition efforts into existing health services for pregnant women and babies.

The project will be implemented in rural and urban areas of participating countries in collaboration with local partners including the health ministries of Colombia,Guatemala, Mexico and Peru, as well as non-profit organizations such as the Saldarriaga Concha Foundation, Fundazucar and the Federico Gomez Children’s Hospital of Mexico.

In addition to a $5 million USD grant from the PepsiCo Foundation, a $750,000contribution from the government of Colombia will be used to evaluate the program in that country.

Over the past six years, the IDB, PepsiCo and the PepsiCo Foundation have partnered to improve lives in Latin America and the Caribbean, supporting projects in recycling, supply chain sustainability, sports for development, Chagas disease, support for Haiti and access to water and sanitation. In this last area, the PepsiCo Foundation was the first private sector donor to the AquaFund, an IDB-administered trust fund. Partnership projects have benefited communities in Argentina, Bolivia,Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.

About the IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is a multilateral financial institution supporting Latin American and the Caribbean efforts to reduce poverty and inequality, and to bring about development in a sustainable, climate-friendly way. Established in 1959, it is the leading source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, with a strong commitment to achieving measurable results. www.iadb.org. Twitter: @the_IDB

About the PepsiCo Foundation
Established in 1962, the PepsiCo Foundation is the philanthropic anchor of PepsiCo, responsible for providing charitable contributions to eligible non-profit organizations. The Foundation is committed to developing sustainable partnerships and programs in underserved regions that provide opportunities for improved health, environment and education. For more information, please visit:http://www.pepsico.com/Purpose/Global-Citizenship

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $66 billion in net revenue in 2013, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our goal to deliver top-tier financial performance while creating sustainable growth in shareholder value. In practice, Performance with Purpose means providing a wide range of foods and beverages from treats to healthy eats; finding innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment and reduce our operating costs; providing a safe and inclusive workplace for our employees globally; and respecting, supporting and investing in the local communities where we operate.