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Coles and Red Cross team up to give kids a good start

Thursday February 4, 2010

Coles and Red Cross are helping thousands of Australian kids get a healthy start to their day.

Coles will mark the start of the school year by launching the Coles Cereal Challenge. From 4 to 17 February, Coles will donate $1 from every pack of Coles branded cereal sold to the Red Cross Good Start Breakfast Club program.

Despite many nutritionists considering that breakfast is the most important meal of the day in assisting a child's development and helping maintain a healthy weight, research has found that up to 40 per cent of Australian school children regularly skip breakfast.

Since 1991, the Red Cross Good Start Breakfast Club program has positively influenced the eating habits of children and assisted communities in changing attitudes towards nutrition by providing free healthy breakfasts and nutrition education at primary schools in areas of greatest need, along with food budgeting workshops to children, parents and communities.

Proudly supported by Coles, the program currently operates in more than 260 schools across Australia and serves around 5,000 children each school day. Since 2006, support from Coles and its customers has enabled Red Cross to provide over 2.75 million breakfasts to school children across Australia with more than 800,000 healthy breakfasts being served each year.

Shaun Hazeldine, National Manager of the Good Start Breakfast Club, said the program has had an amazing impact across the country, and acknowledged Coles for helping to ensure that children at participating schools get a good start.

"We have found that there are a number of children in disadvantaged areas who are not beginning the day with a healthy breakfast however, this trend is not confined to such areas. Families across Australia who are time poor in the morning are turning to breakfast alternatives that don't provide children with the nutritional requirements to lead an active lifestyle," Mr Hazeldine said.

"The Good Start Breakfast Club program is committed to working to improve nutrition education amongst all families, and our partnership with Coles has enabled the program to become the largest of its kind in Australia."

He said that Red Cross research found more than 70 per cent of teachers indicated an improvement in sustained concentration from children who ate breakfast, while an improvement in social behaviours such as friendliness to other students, politeness, and helpfulness was also observed.

Ian McLeod, Coles Managing Director, said the business was proud to support a worthwhile initiative that recognised the importance of healthy eating for children.

"This is a tremendous program that's making a real difference in the lives of children across Australia. We're delighted to support the Red Cross as they help build the next generation of healthy Australians," Mr McLeod said.

Proceeds raised from the Coles Cereal Challenge will support the continued delivery of the Good Start Breakfast Club program and additionally provide 100 nutrition education workshops, as well as physical activity days nationwide.