This week First Lady Michelle Obama was joined by Elmo and Rosita from Sesame Street as she announced that Sesame Workshop and Produce Marketing Association (PMA) are partnering to promote healthy food choices for kids. Using popular characters, such as Big Bird, Elmo, Rosita, and Abby Cadabby to market healthy foods is a strategy that Cornell University researchers determined is helpful in assisting kids in making better food choices. Published last October in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, “Can branding improve school lunches“ found that when researchers gave kids a choice between eating an apple, a cookie, or both, the majority of the children selected the cookie. When researchers put Elmo stickers on the apples and let children choose again, nearly double the number of kids reached for the apple.
“Just imagine what will happen when we take our kids to the grocery store, and they see Elmo and Rosita and the other Sesame Street Muppets they love up and down the produce aisle,” said Mrs. Obama. “Imagine what it will be like to have our kids begging us to buy them fruits and vegetables instead of cookies, candy, and chips.”
Elmo and Rosita joined the First Lady for this announcement before joining elementary school children from Washington, D.C., West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia in the White House Kitchen Garden for the annual fall harvest. Schools were invited because they have started to offer healthy snack options. Starting next year, all schools will be required to follow the Smart Snacks in School nutrition standards that are designed to provide healthier choices through vending machines and a la carte lines.
Twenty-five elementary students assisted in harvesting pumpkins, sweet potatoes, broccoli, eggplant, beans, peppers, ginger, and a variety of greens before filling whole grain tortillas with turkey, hummus, and assorted vegetables, and joining Mrs. Obama for a mid-afternoon snack on the grounds of the White House.
Flip through these photos for an inside look at Mrs. Obama’s announcement with Elmo and Rosita (made in the White House State Dining Room), and the fall harvest in the White House Kitchen Garden, where “Let’s Move” Executive Director Sam Kass, White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford, and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses were on-hand to help the area school children with the harvest.
The White House has shared video of Michelle Obama speaking at the White House Kitchen Garden and The First Lady’s announcement about partnerships between Sesame Workshop and PWA to encourage healthy food choices for kids.
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Photos taken by Leticia Barr