Healthy Habits for Life

Sesame Street

Overview

Healthy Habits for Life is a direct education and social marketing initiative designed to help parents and caregivers encourage children to build healthy habits early. The initiative features Sesame Street friends who model fun ways to move and play and encourage children to explore and enjoy healthy foods. Since 2004, messages about nutrition and exercise have been integrated into Sesame Street as part of the Healthy Habits for Life initiative. In 2006, multimedia outreach kits that include classroom activities, simple recipes, a storybook, and a DVD of The Get Healthy Now Show! were delivered to child care centers.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity

Intervention Type: Direct Education, Social Marketing

Intervention Reach and Adoption

Healthy Habits for Life targets preschool aged children at child care settings. Over 4 million Healthy Habits for Life kits have been distributed.

Setting: Child care

Target Audience: Preschool (<5 years old)

Race/Ethnicity: All

Intervention Components

The Healthy Habits for Life initiative includes integrating messages about nutrition and exercise into Sesame Street and distributing multimedia outreach kits to child care programs serving families who are most at risk.

Intervention Materials

Healthy Habits for Life kits include classroom activities, simple recipes, a storybook, and a DVD of The Get Healthy Now Show!—a game show headlined by Elmo and the Big Tomato. In the program, fruits and vegetables literally talk back to their pint-sized critics, advising kids to “Eat your rainbow!” and “Move your body!” The kit provides not just practical support but also much needed emotional support, empowering families and encouraging kids to have a positive outlook about food, and to think of it as something that “gives me energy to think, learn, move, and play!”

Evidence Summary

  • Families using our Healthy Habits for Life kit report a significantly greater willingness to eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lower-fat milk (up 10–18%).
    • Ritchie, LD., Whaley, SD., Spector, P., Gomez, J., Crawford, PB. (2010). Favorable Impact of Nutrition Education on California WIC Families. Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior, 42(3S)
  • 45% of parents say their children talk about “healthy” topics, such as eating more fruits and vegetables.
    • KidPoint LLC. (2009). Healthy Habits for Life Child Care Resource Kit Evaluation Report, Unpublished report.
  • Almost 6 million families and childcare centers received a Sesame Street outreach kit, while reaching “countless” Sesame Street viewers.
    • Sesame Workshop project records, 2011.

Classification: Evidence-based

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST3 MT1, MT3
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence MT12

Evaluation Materials

Currently, no evaluation tools or materials are available.

Additional Information

Website: The Healthy Habits for Life website (http://www.sesameworkshop.org/what-we-do/our-initiatives/healthy-habits-for-life/) includes an overview, background information, Healthy Habits for Life brochures, videos, and toolkits.

Contact Person(s):
Please contact outreach@sesame.org with any questions about Healthy Habits for Life or any Sesame Street toolkits and resources.