Sesame Street, PMA, Michelle Obama and Dr. Oz

Sesame Street, PMA, Michelle Obama and Dr. Oz

11/5/2013 11:11 AM

“One of these things is not like the other, one of these just doesn’t belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the others by the time I finish my song?”

That song leads into Sesame Street segments where kids are asked to identify what items are similar and what item is different?  In our scenario, Sesame Street, Michelle Obama and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) are in the “similar” category.  Each of them want to see children increase their consumption of healthy fruits and veggies and have announced a new initiative that will allow the placement of Sesame Street characters on produce free of charge – that’s right - no licensing fees.  Sesame Street cannot estimate how much revenue will be lost by waiving the licensing fees, but they are willing to put revenues aside to promote healthy eating habits among children. 

Dr. Oz gets placed in the “not like the others” category.  This week he aired yet another segment that did nothing but generate misguided fear among its viewers, especially moms, about the safety of fruits and veggies. The segment was sprinkled with scary quotes about “chemical cocktails” and “pesticide load.” Dr. Oz professes to care about the health of Americans, but fear sells so he puts ratings and profits over promoting healthy diets every time.

But we’re betting that Sesame Street, the First Lady and PMA’s new initiative offsets misguided, negative safety perceptions generated by the Dr. Oz Show and others.  According to a White House statement, “Sesame Workshop is taking an unprecedented step of enabling produce companies to use the power of their characters to encourage children to eat more fruits and vegetables. In a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, the number of children who chose apples over cookies nearly doubled when an Elmo sticker was placed on the apple. Popular characters can play a strong role in influencing kids’ food choices and this commitment aims to influence healthy choices.”

This initiative is crucial since studies show kids younger than five don't eat enough fruits and vegetables, and that it gets worse as children grow up.  And, who better than the very popular Elmo and Big Bird to help change that trend.  As Elmo says, “"Elmo loves healthy foods. Elmo thinks that fruits and vegetables are delicious."   Yes, we’ll take a spokesperson like Elmo and his Sesame Street friends over Dr. Oz any day.

Read, learn, choose but eat more organic and conventional fruits and vegetables for improved health and a longer life.

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