Celia Ruiz is a bilingual community outreach specialist for UnitedHealthcare Community and State in Overland Park, Kansas. Through her work she uses Sesame Street’s Food for Thought kit and was kind enough to write about it. To learn more about the ways Sesame Workshop promotes healthy eating in under-served communities, click here.
I work for UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Kansas. We have partnered with Sesame Street’s Food for Thought program as a way to help our families live healthier lives. I have been fortunate enough to present this program to children and their families in medical clinics, health departments, Head Start programs and community events. Read More
It’s not enough to just make healthy food choices for our children. We have to get them excited about healthy food like fruits and vegetables so that they establish lifelong healthy habits. That’s why UnitedHealthcare and Sesame Workshop have come together to produce a 30-second public service announcement (PSA) entitled “Eat a Rainbow.”
The segment, which features Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, Senior Medical Advisor to the United Health Foundation, and Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby, encourages children to eat food that comes in a variety of colors: oranges, bananas, blueberries, green beans and tomatoes. By including all the colors of the rainbow, children can have fun while learning how to have a balanced diet. The PSA is part of Healthy Habits for Life, a partnership between Sesame Workshop and UnitedHealthcare that includes bilingual (English/Spanish) educational materials that encourage children to eat healthy and help parents make fruits and vegetables fun for their children.
To learn more about the work Sesame Workshop and UnitedHealthcare do to make sure children grow up healthy and happy, click here.
Barbara Sawyer is the Director of Special Projects at the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) and has worked in the early care and education field for over thirty years. From the time Sesame’s Healthy Habits for Life initiative launched in the early 2000’s, the NAFCC has been a key partner with Sesame Workshop to deliver these crucial messages on nutrition and physical activity. With the NAFCC’s support and through their national network of providers, Healthy Habits for Life materials have reached thousands of children in family child care.
Last week in continuation of this partnership, Barbara joined with Sesame Workshop’s Outreach staffers at the NAFCC’s Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, to host a roundtable discussion of experts, representing the nutrition, physical activity, and early education fields.
Before the event, we caught up with Barbara to talk about family child care and the NAFCC’s work in obesity prevention.
Sesame Workshop: What can you tell me about the National Association for Family Child Care and the particular ways it supports child care providers?
Barbara Sawyer: The National Association for Family Child Care is a non-profit organization that promotes quality child care by strengthening the profession of family child care. The goals of the association include strengthening state and local associations as the primary support system for individual family child care providers, promoting a professional accreditation program which recognizes and encourages quality care for children, and representing family child care providers by advocating for their needs and collaborating with other organizations. The NAFCC is one of the only membership organizations that is dedicated to family child care providers who work in their own home with primarily a small group of children. About 65% of these providers work independently and do not have an assistant; therefore they are the only adult with the children. One of the ways the NAFCC works to improve the quality of this care is by inviting the providers to belong to a peer support group.
Photo By Gil Vaknin
“As a parent, I am reminded on a daily basis how important a healthy diet is to both physical and emotional well-being. There are few things more heartbreaking than the eyes of a hungry child, or a parent who feels too much shame to ask for help. I’m honored to be a part of this important initiative.”
-Erica Hill, Co-Anchor, CBS News’ The Early Show
In December of 2010, Sesame Workshop launched Food for Thought: Eating Healthy on a Budget, a bilingual (English-Spanish) multimedia outreach initiative designed to help children between the ages of two and eight and their families cope with uncertain or limited access to affordable and nutritious food. Today, Sesame Workshop unveiled compelling research on the initiative, demonstrating that Food For Thought: Eating Healthy on A Budget has been successful in helping families increase knowledge beliefs and behaviors around nutrition. The study was conducted by the Field Research Corporation and funded by The Merck Company foundation.
Photo by Jen Rupnik
A livestream panel was also held today to present the results, moderated by Erica Hill, Co-Anchor of CBS News The Early Show, at the national Press Club in Washington, D.C. She was joined by several experts including:
- Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President, Outreach and Educational Practices, Sesame Workshop
- Enid Borden, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels Association of America
- Mark DiCamillo, Senior Vice President, Field Research Corporation
- Vicki Escarra, President & CEO, Feeding America
- Tianna Gaines, Witnesses to Hunger
- Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President and CEO, National WIC Association
- Ronald Kleinman, M.D., Physician in Chief, MassGeneral Hospital for Children
The study focused on the impact of a four week exposure to the kit and found that it had a positive impact on behaviors and attitudes regarding how to cope with food insecurity. This translated into concrete activities for the participants, who were more likely to seek help, save money on food, and choose healthier eating for their families after working with the kit. Most importantly, participants showed a dramatically increased ability to cope with food insecurity and communicate with their children about food security worries. Sesame Workshop hopes that it can continue initiatives like Food For Thought and Growing Hope For Hunger in an effort to help families find resources and grow stronger together.
For more information, read the full press release here.