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Press Release

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Supports Using Sesame Street Characters to Promote Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Consumption to Kids

2013-11-01

Media Contacts: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn
800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802 media@eatright.org

CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics applauds First Lady Michelle Obama's announcement – as part of the Let's Move! initiative – that the Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association have joined the Partnership for a Healthier America in a two-year agreement to help promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption to kids.

"Research shows when childhood characters are used to promote foods, kids are more inclined to consume them, which is why we are elated to have popular children’s characters promote healthy fruits and vegetables," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Dr. Glenna McCollum.

"Recent studies conducted by researchers at Cornell University and the Sesame Workshop indicate that when a Sesame Street character like Elmo is pictured on healthy foods like broccoli or apples, kids are more inclined to choose healthy produce over popular, sugary snacks," McCollum said.

Since most children are not meeting their daily requirements for fruit and vegetable consumption, the Academy supports this effort that will encourage kids to practice healthier habits starting at an early age, McCollum said. "Fruit and vegetable consumption is vital to the well-being of all Americans, but it is particularly essential to children who are growing and developing. Produce contains important vitamins and minerals that help keep our children strong and healthy."

The announcement comes just a month after the first White House convening on food marketing to children. Led by Mrs. Obama, the September meeting included media, industry, research, consumer and advocacy groups and focused on identifying solutions for improving marketing to kids to encourage healthier food consumption.

The Academy supports efforts to minimize food marketing of unhealthy foods to children. "It is wonderful to see effective marketing of healthy foods to children done in a positive way. This healthy food marketing initiative, along with others – like the Academy’s Kids Eat Right campaign – helps bring us one step closer to a healthier next generation," McCollum said.

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All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy’s Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use “registered dietitian nutritionist” (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.