Another Childhood Icon Falls Victim

Another Childhood Icon Falls Victim

In 2004, the Sesame Street organization decided it was time to make a change and answer growing concerns on childhood obesity.  The solution, to educate children and teachers on healthier eating and exercise habits to implement in to their lives.  They call the program Healthy Habits for Life (sesameworkshop.org).  Although this is an excellent idea in theory, rumors spread that the beloved Cookie Monster was to become Veggie Monster, taking on a new identity to accommodate the assumed need to educate children on better food and eating habits.

Sesame Street airs in over 120 countries and has more than 20 local versions of the show (BBCNews.com).  With numbers like that, it is quite obvious that the furry little singing and counting Muppets do have the ability to influence and educate children throughout the world on a daily basis.

Where then is the line drawn?  BBC reports that in 2005, every one in three children in the United States were overweight (BBCNews.com). The same report shows that only one in 25 children in the United Kingdom were overweight (BBCNews.com).

Sesame Workshop claims that research indicates through continued exposure to positive role models, preschoolers can learn to like wholesome foods and develop good dietary practices (sesameworkshop.org).  The show now has Cookie Monster eating “anytime foods” such as fruits and vegetables versus “sometimes foods” like cookies or random inedible items (sesameworkshop.org).

While modern society has taken on the notion of blaming iconic figures like Cookie Monster for childhood obesity, no one is directly blaming parents.  Standard practice for most parents is to plop their preschooler in front of the television with a snack while Sesame Street is on so that they may be able to go on about their day.  This has been a common household and day care practice for over thirty years.  Change the cartoon to Looney Tunes and does the preschooler then grab an anvil and drop it on baby brothers head while mom and dad are surfing the internet?

The lack of accountability in this country is the real thing that is soaring.  There are many ways to educate adults and children alike on healthier life styles.  The current drive to educate the children through changing their television characters and various icons is nothing more than a misguided attempt to make people feel like they are making a change.  Unfortunately, it is not the children picking up the groceries or pulling into the drive through at the local fast food joints.

Dr. Rosemarie T. Truglio, spokesman for Cookie Monster said, “We are not putting him on a diet, and we would never take the position of no sugar.  We’re teaching him moderation.”  The show has even taken to using real life icons like Alicia Keys and First Lady, Michelle Obama to push this agenda.  Sorry Cookie, looks like you are paying for the sins of American adults despite the fact that you are old enough to be their grandfather.

Works Cited

“BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Cookie Monster Curbs Cookie Habit.” BBC NEWS | News Front Page. 11 Apr. 2005. Web. 08 Apr. 2010. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4432415.stm>.

“Healthy Habits for Life – Sesame Workshop.” Home – Sesame Workshop. Web. 08 Apr. 2010. <http://www.sesameworkshop.org/initiatives/health/healthyhabits>.

“USATODAY.com – Cookie Monster: ‘Me Eat Less Cookies'” News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World – USATODAY.com. 07 Apr. 2005. Web. 08 Apr. 2010. <http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2005-04-07-cookie-monster_x.htm>.

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