The following is a statement from Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, RWJF president and CEO, regarding an announcement by the Partnership for a Healthier America, Sesame Workshop, and the Produce Marketing Association.
“I thank and congratulate the Sesame Workshop for lending Elmo, Rosita, and other beloved characters to the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) to encourage children to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s a win-win agreement that’s good for the health of children and good for produce growers, suppliers and retailers.
“Marketing healthy products with the same skill and vigor typically used for less-healthy options could make a major difference in shaping children’s food preferences. With the backing of Big Bird and friends, there’s no limit to what PMA can accomplish. I have visions of children pestering their parents for pears and begging for broccoli.
“If fruits and vegetables are Elmo-endorsed, kids will want to try more of them. And if they try them, they just might like them, and make healthy produce a bigger part of their daily diet. If we’re going to advertise to kids, the characters they love best should be used to promote only the foods that are best for them.
“We know marketing works. It’s fantastic to see industry leaders who recognize it can be a force for good. Changes like this one are an essential part of creating a culture of health, one that supports children and parents in their efforts to lead healthier lives.”
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD
President and Chief Executive Officer