Michelle Obama teamed up with Sesame Street stars Elmo and Rosita to unveil a new scheme to get children “begging” for fruit and vegetables this week.
The First Lady was joined by the loveable characters for a special press conference at the White House, where the unlikely trio cosied up to promote a new healthy eating scheme.
The mum-of-two proudly announced that the non-profit organisation behind Sesame Street have decided to let the produce industry use Elmo, Big Bird and their furry friends free of charge to market fruit and vegetables to children.
The goal is to get children who would otherwise turn their nose up at healthy food to eat more of it.
Michelle cited a study by Cornell University that gave more than 200 boys and girls aged eight to 11 the choice of eating an apple, a cookie or both. Most went for the cookie.
Asked to choose again after researchers put Elmo stickers on the fruit, nearly double the number of kids chose the apple.
“Just imagine what will happen when we take out kids to the grocery store, and they see Elmo and Rosita and the other Sesame Street Muppets they love up and down the produce aisle,” the president’s wife said.
“Imagine what it will be like to have our kids begging us to buy them fruits and vegetables instead of cookies, candy and chips.”
Under the new arrangement, Sesame Workshop is waiving the licensing fee for its Muppet characters for two years.
It is the latest step by the private sector to support ‘Let’s Move‘, Michelle’s four-year-old campaign to reduce childhood obesity in the US.
And the First Lady wasn’t finished there. After the announcement, she joined the Muppets at her garden on the South Lawn for the annual fall harvest.
Along with White House staff, she got stuck in helping a number of young students from elementary schools gather up home-grown produce for the harvest.
They all then prepared and ate turkey veggie wraps, using some of the freshly-picked cucumbers and tomatoes.