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News Release

Vilsack at the National WIC and Sesame Workshop Release No. 0054.09
Angela Harless (202)720-4623

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Secretary Vilsack Teams Up With Sesame Workshop, National WIC Association

USDA Delivers Message of Healthy Eating

Washington, D.C. March 10, 2009. Secretary Vilsack today announced a partnership with Sesame Workshop and the National WIC Association to help children and their families have healthier options and encourage them to make healthy habits a part of their daily routines.

"President Obama has challenged us to eliminate childhood hunger by 2015," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "WIC is proven effective at helping low-income mothers get their infants and children off to a healthy start and through the $500 million provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, USDA can further assist those nutritionally at-risk. Our collaboration with Sesame Workshop and the National WIC Association is just another example of our commitment to ensure healthy and nutritious food is available to our children."

The announcement was made at the 19th Annual National WIC Association Leadership Conference by Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, Margaret Saunders, President of the National WIC Association, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Sesame Street's Cookie Monster.

"Me know cookies are a sometimes food but me love to eat everything," stated Sesame Street's Cookie Monster.

Sesame Workshop and the National WIC Association's healthy habits educational campaign has been launched to support the nutritional and health efforts that WIC clinics provide to the over 9 million mothers and young children who participate in WIC each month and as part of Sesame Workshop's Healthy Habits for Life Initiative. As a way to introduce friendly and engaging healthy messages into each state's new food package rollout, 3.6 million Sesame Street's Healthy Habits for Life: Get Healthy Now multimedia outreach kits will be distributed to WIC families.

The Healthy Habits for Life (HHFL) outreach kit consists of an original DVD and storybook starring the Sesame Street Muppets: featuring "The Get Healthy Now Show" that encourages children with the help of their friends, Elmo, Telly, and Rosita, to explore ways to eat and drink so that they can play, learn, and grow up healthy, and a guide for parents and caregivers that contains strategies and hands-on activities for everyday and on the go. The outreach materials were originally produced in partnership with Nemours Health and Prevention Services and KidsHealth.

The Healthy Habits for Life materials will offer healthy messages such as:

  • Eat a Rainbow! Colorful fruits and vegetables are good for you.
  • What you eat and drink can help you to play, learn and grow.
  • Everyday is an anytime food day. There are foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, that you can eat anytime, because they are so delicious and super nutritious.
  • Being physically active is fun, enjoyable and it's something everyone can do. Parents and caregivers can be wonderful role models for eating healthy, doing physical activity and using everyday moments to help children learn, practice, and celebrate healthy habits.
  • Getting to know your body and learning to eat a balance of "sometimes" and "anytime" foods can help lead to a healthy life.

About Sesame Workshop:

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization that changed television forever with the legendary Sesame Street. As the single largest informal educator of young children, local Sesame Street programs produced in countries as diverse as South Africa, Bangladesh and India are making a difference in over 120 nations. Using proprietary research to create engaging and enriching content, Sesame Workshop produces programs such as Dragon Tales and Pinky Dinky Doo. In addition, multimedia needs-driven initiatives provide families tools for addressing such issues as children's health, military deployment and emergency preparedness. As a nonprofit, product proceeds and philanthropic donations support Sesame Workshop's educational research and creative content for children around the world. Learn more at www.sesameworkshop.orgThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website..

About National WIC Association:

The National WIC Association (NWA) is the non-profit education and advocacy voice of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC), the over 9 million mothers and young children served by WIC and the 90 State and 2,200 Local Agencies and 10,000 WIC Clinics who are the front lines of WIC services for the nation's nutritionally at-risk mothers and young children. Learn more about NWA at