Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sesame Street Tackles Food Insecurity

“Superfoods” Muppets Also Join the Effort in an Original Video Featuring Elmo and Friends

 Did You Know?
·         In 2008, approximately 15% of all U.S. households, or 49 million people, were food insecure
·         9 million children, or 1 in 4 under the age of six, now lack food that meets basic nutritional needs due to financial instability

 WHAT: Food insecurity refers to uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food. With today’s economic woes, many families choose quick fixes over nutritional foods. That’s why Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, has decided to partner with UnitedHealthcare and Merck Company Foundation to unveil a bilingual multimedia outreach initiative to help families cope with “food insecurity” called Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget.

 The program focuses on children between the ages of 2 and 8, who regularly cope with food insecurity. It will also help educate families on how to nurture their children’s overall development through good nutrition – even in the face of tough economic or social decision. Food for Thought is essential in helping children learn the importance of developing a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritional food despite a low or reduced income and helping them succeed in school, and in life.

 Joining the efforts are four new Sesame Street Muppets, the “Superfoods.” The will appear in an original video with Elmo and friends, along with real families as they try new foods, learn about the importance of healthy snacks and discover that sharing a meal together is a perfect opportunity to connect as a family. The Muppet story featured in the outreach kit will air on Sesame Street on PBS, December 8th.

 The Food For Thought resource kit is designed to:
·         Assist children and families in achieving a balanced and healthy diet by educating them about nutritionally sound foods that are easier to access and that are good for child development
·         Support families facing economic challenges to model and encourage children to eat healthy foods and be physically active
·         Provide resources that allow both children and adults to make healthy food choices based on simple and familiar messages, including sometime and anytime foods and eating a rainbow of colors
·         Inform families about locally available resources and programs for them and their children to access nutritionally sound foods

 The 400,000 kits will be distributed nationwide through UnitedHealthcare, Merck Foundation and other key organizations including National WIC Association, Feeding America, Head Start, Meals on Wheels, as well as local community organizations. The initiative also will include two public service messages encouraging children to try new foods. All bilingual materials will be available at www.sesamestreet.org/food.

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