Healthy Habits for Life is a multi-year, content-driven initiative launched by Sesame Workshop in 2005 to help young children and their caregivers establish an early foundation of healthy habits. It was also the central theme for Sesame Street's Season 36 in 2005.
In the early part of the 2000s, childhood obesity became a critical issue in the public mind, and was reinforced as a cause for concern by data published by the US Centers for Disease Control.
Sesame Workshop, as a developer of many kids programs, took interest in promoting healthy lifestyles to its viewers. According to people from Sesame Workshop, "Health has always been a part of our Sesame Street curriculum, therefore we will always be committed to ensuring kids are given information and messages that will help them become healthy and happy in their development. For season 36, we have turned up the dial in health, but it will always be part of our curriculum."
The Healthy Habits for Life programming was launched in 2005, to encourage young viewers to lead more active and nutritious lifestyles.
The Workshop formed an Advisory Board consisting of experts such as Woodie Kessel, M.D., M.P.H., the Assistant Surgeon General of the United States. This board examines the research of other organizations, and also conducts pilot studies to determine which areas of research should be expanded, based on social, ethnic and socio-economic sections of the population.
Public Service Announcements
Several United States Senators, governors and other politicians recorded public service messages with Elmo and Rosita in 2005 and 2006. These PSAs were distributed to state and national television outlets. Topics of the public service messages ranged from the importance of health and nutrition to physical fitness and personal hygiene.
Some of the politicians who joined the Sesame Street characters included:
- Saxby Chambliss (Senator from Georgia)
- Hillary Rodham Clinton (Senator from New York)
- Kent Conrad (Senator from North Dakota)
- John Cornyn (Senator from Texas)
- Christopher Dodd (Senator from Connecticut)
- Dick Durbin (Senator from Illinois)
- Bill Frist (Senator from Tennessee)
- Mary Landrieu (Senator from Louisiana)
- Blanche Lincoln (Senator from Arkansas)
- Tom Harkin (Senator from Iowa)
- Kay Bailey Hutchison (Senator from Texas)
- Jon Huntsman, Jr. (Governor of Utah)
- Lisa Murkowski (Senator from Arkansas)
- Kathleen Sebelius (Governor of Kansas)
- Jeff Sessions (Senator from Alabama)
- Ron Wyden (Senator from Oregon)
- On April 4, 2005 Grover appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote the initiative.
- On Feburary 26, 2006 Rosita and Elmo appeared at The National Governor's Association Forum to promote the initiatve.
- On April 4, 2006 several Sesame Street characters appeared on the game show Jeopardy! with Alex Trebek to help promote the initiative.
- Happy Healthy Monsters is a direct-to-video release that was released February 1, 2005. It ties in with the health awareness theme of Season 36, which started only two months later.
- Several "Happy Healthy Monters" books have been released, such as Come Play with Elmo!, Eat Your Colors!, Good Night, Tucked in Tight and Get Moving With Grover.
- Learning Horizons published several educational workbooks starting in the Summer of 2005, including "My Healthy Body" and "Healthy Foods".
- Beginning in February 2005, special health content appeared in every issue of Sesame Street magazine - including a "Happy Healthy Monsters" monthly calendar.
- Sesame Workshop partnered with several health food and vegetable distributors to market healthy food and lifestyles with the Sesame Street characters. Companies included California Giant Berry Farms, Del Monte vegetables, Earth's Best, Hannaford Supermarkets, Knouse Foods and Stemilt Growers, Inc.
- Sesame Street Presents: The Body, a traveling interactive museum exhibition debuted in May 2005 as part of the Healthy Habits for Life initive. The touring exhibit will reach up to 15 markets over a 5 year period. It focuses on the body, what it can do, and offer specific information about how to keep the body healthy and strong. Various Outreach materials for parents, teachers and caregivers is also distributed to accompany the exhibit.
At the start of every season 36 episode, before the sponsorship list and opening sequence ran, a "Healthy Moment" segment aired. Many of these included celebrity guests, including astronaut Buzz Aldrin, game show champion Ken Jennings, or singer Alicia Keys. Each segment started out with Muppet vegetables, singing a short jingle with the lyrics "Stay happy, and healthy, on Sesame Street."
|Episode 4096||Nutrition|| Food Around the World and Eating with Family|
Rosita comments that there is great food around the world, and that the best meals happen when she eats with her family. Together, they get ready to eat Chinese food.
|Episode 4105||Nutrition|| Food Equals Energy|
Trash Gordon eats a banana to give him the energy to lift up a boulder over his head.
|Episode 4090||Nutrition|| Food Equals Energy|
Telly dresses himself in an astronaut's helmet and comments that he's running low on energy. Buzz Aldrin suggests that all he needs to do is eat some food.
|Episode 4085||Nutrition|| Fruits|
Grover asks Ken Jennings to name something that is sweet and full of vitamins. In the form of a question, Jennings answers, "What is a fruit?" and gets it correct. His prize is a pineapple.
|Nutrition|| Fruits as a Healthy Snack|
Samara and Telly say that fruits are good as a healthy snack. Afterwards, Telly tries to figure out what fruit Samara is signing with her hands. He finds out that she wants a banana and they both dance along with two Muppet bananas that pop up.
|Episode 4094||Nutrition|| Fruit Rap|
Bert recites a funky rap about fruits.
|Episode 4103||Nutrition|| Healthy Choices|
Alan informs us to give children lots of options on what healthy food that they can eat. Elmo is trying to decide if he wants to eat an apple, cheese, or broccoli. The foods all jump around in hopes that Elmo will pick them.
|Episode 4097||Nutrition|| Trying New Food|
Alan says that trying new food is better than eating the same food. Instead of his usual food of porridge, Baby Bear tries whole-grain cereal. He likes the taste of it that he eats up all the cereal from the bowl.
|Episode 4107||Nutrition|| Water|
Maria explains how water helps keep your body cool and gives you energy. However, Oscar thinks water is fun to spray Maria with his elephant's trunk.
|Physical Movement|| Active|
Gordon talk about how children should be physically active by running, skipping, or dance. At that moment, the Elephant comes by and ask Gordon if he wants to dance with him.
|Episode 4091||Physical Movement|| Dance|
Zoe says that dancing is a great way to move the body and makes a person healthy and strong.
|Episode 4101||Physical Movement|| Exercising with a Ball|
Telly and Max play ball with each other by tossing it in the basketball hoop and throwing it to each other. Maria watches and comments that exercising is good for us.
|Episode 4084||Physical Movement|| Exercising to Music|
Elmo and Lang Lang show that exercising to music keeps you in shape and is fun too.
|Episode 4102||Physical Movement|| Froggy Jumps|
Rosita and Dominique Dawes are going to do some froggy jumps because it keeps the body healthy and strong. A frog jumps by and comments, "Nice moves!"
|Episode 4100||Physical Movement|| Jumping|
Grover encourages viewers to jump near and far, saying that jumping is a great way to exercise. At that moment, Grover slips and falls down. He replies that jumping is fun, but falling down isn't.
|Episode 4108||Physical Movement|| Moving Your Body|
Alicia Keys says that moving your body is a great way to be healthy and strong, no matter if you move fast or slow. Then she and Elmo start to dance to get their bodies in healthy shape.
|Episode 4095||Physical Movement|| Playing Indoors|
Gordon explains that there are ways to exercise indoors, when it is raining outside. Big Bird and two kids play with a scarf, dance to music, and have an indoor parade, which Gordon joins.
|Episode 4104||Physical Movement|| Riding a Bike|
Maria asks, "You want to know a great way to stay healthy and strong?" At that moment, kids pass by on their bikes and Elmo comes in on his tricycle with the song, "Riding My Tricycle," playing in the background.
|Episode 4093||Physical Movement|| Stretching|
Shirley Jones tells Zoe that while waiting for the bus, she likes to move her body and stretch her toes and arms to keep them healthy and strong.
|Episode 4083||Physical Movement|| Walking|
Elmo and Rosita are playing baseball together with Joe Torre watching them. Joe Torre suggests to Elmo that he and Rosita should take a walk, because it's healthy for your lungs, heart and muscles. So Elmo and Rosita decide to stop playing baseball and go for a walk instead.
|Episode 4092||Physical Movement|| Walking|
Super Grover explains how walking is a super way to be healthy and strong. So instead of flying in the air, Super Grover decides to walk instead.
|Episode 4089||Mental Health|| Happy|
Alison Krauss and Baby Bear tell us to do things that we love to do to make us happy. It will keep our minds healthy and we will also feel good. Baby Bear loves to do drawing and Allison Krauss loves to play music.
|Episode 4087||Mental Health|| Napping|
Papa Bear helps Baby Bear get ready to take a nap at home. Strangely, Baby Bear sleeps standing up next to his bed, with his head on the pillow, uncovered, despite legend saying that his bed was "just right".
|Episode 4106||Health|| How to Stay Healthy in Sign Language|
Elmo and members from the Little Theater of the Deaf signed words (jump, run, dance, and rest) to show how to stay healthy.
|Episode 4088||Health|| Prevent Germs from Spreading|
Richard Kind and Snuffy explain how covering your mouth when coughing, and covering your nose (or snuffle) when sneezing, can prevent germs from spreading.
|Episode 4086||Hygiene|| Brushing Teeth|
Buster the Horse brushes his teeth to keep them healthy and clean after every meal. It gives him a sparkling smile and makes his breath smell nice and minty too.
Seasons 36 and 37 also introduced many new sketches and songs to the show's catalog focusing on nutrition, healthy life styles and hygiene.
|Episode 4129||Nutrition|| Apple|
Amy Sedaris uses an apple to tell the viewer about her favorite snack, although Cookie Monster keeps interrupting her.
|Episode 4133||Nutrition|| "Breakfast Is the Best Meal of the Day"|
Ernie sings with a singing banana, toast with eggs and a bowl of oatmeal about how good breakfast can be. By the end, Bert is hungry and ready for breakfast, but Ernie informs him that it's the middle of the night and not time to eat breakfast yet.
|Episode 4113||Nutrition|| "The Breakfast Club"|
Miles, Zoe, Baby Bear, Elmo, three children, and four Anything Muppets sing about "The Breakfast Club." In order to join this club, all you have to do is be a "breakfast eater." Together, the members of the club sing about all the positive health benefits of this essential morning meal.
|Episode 4115||Nutrition|| Fruit Monster|
Matt Lauer interviews Cookie Monster and inquires why he has stopped eating cookies. He maintains that while he does like fruit, he still likes cookies as well.
|Episode 4089||Nutrition|| "A Cookie is a Sometime Food"|
Hoots the Owl explains to Cookie Monster that cookies are foods that you can eat sometimes, but you can eat fruits anytime.
|Episode 4085||Nutrition|| Eat to Stay Healthy|
Grover asks Maya what people should eat to keep healthy.
|Episode 4124||Nutrition|| Favorite Thing to Eat for Breakfast|
Murray Monster asks Venetia her favorite thing to eat for breakfast and she said it is eggs.
|Episode 4115||Nutrition|| Favorite Fruit|
Bernie Broccoli asks Camaria questions about her favorite fruit.
|Episode 4117||Nutrition|| Favorite Vegetable|
Bernie Broccoli guesses Anthony's favorite vegetable.
|Episode 4124||Nutrition|| Favorite Veggie|
Bernie Broccoli quizzes Pete about his favorite vegetable.
|Episode 4107||Nutrition|| Food Equals Energy|
A six-year-old girl named Carlotta explains how healthy foods give the body energy.
|Episode 4109||Nutrition|| Food Equals Energy|
Caroline and Christopher have something to eat for energy.
|Episode 4089||Nutrition|| Fruit Dance|
Do the Fruit Dance!
|Episode 4085||Nutrition|| Global Grover: French Market|
A young girl and her father go shopping at a market in Paris in preparation for a visit with her grandmother.
|Episode 4083||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Apple
|Episode 4132||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Artichoke|
Sung by Jennifer Barnhart.
|Episode 4100||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Broccoli|
Sung by Jennifer Barnhart.
|Episode 4134||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Carrots
|Episode 4090||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Corn|
Sung by Jerry Nelson.
|Episode 4092||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Grapes
|Episode 4084||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Grapefruit
|Episode 4085||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Milk
|Episode 4089||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Pear|
Sung by Kevin Clash.
|Episode 4116||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Peas|
Sung by Jerry Nelson.
|Episode 4107||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Potatoes|
Sung by Jerry Nelson.
|Episode 4087||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Strawberries
|Episode 4088||Nutrition|| Healthy Food Song: Watermelon|
Sung by Jerry Nelson.
|Episode 4085||Nutrition|| "Healthy Food"|
In a remake of a 1980's sketch, Cookie Monster and Wyclef Jean rap about healthy food.
|Episode 4084||Nutrition|| Healthy Snacks|
Elmo and Ben pretend to eat healthy snacks. Ben eats applesauce and apples, while Elmo eats a tuna fish sandwich and a pear.
|Episode 4089||Nutrition|| Healthy Snacks|
Elmo and Jamie pretend to eat healthy snacks such as broccoli, apples, pears, and bananas.
|Episode 4125||Nutrition|| Healthy Storybook Moments: Hansel and Gretel|
The story of Hansel and Gretel backfires when the characters would rather eat bread crumbs than the witch's house!
|Episode 4085||Nutrition|| "I Eat the Colors of the Rainbow"|
A boy sings about colors connecting with specific, healthy foods.
|Episode 4120||Nutrition|| Jane Tuesday: Apple|
Detective Jane Tuesday looks for a snack that's both crunchy and sweet. She finds it thanks to her brother, munching on an apple.
|Episode 4096||Nutrition|| Jane Tuesday: Blueberries|
Jane Tuesday eats a tasty blueberry in the Case of the Letter B.
|Episode 4085||Nutrition|| Jane Tuesday: Green Beans|
Jane Tuesday eats tasty green beans and tells us to "Eat Your Colors Today."
|Episode 4089||Nutrition|| Jane Tuesday: Orange|
Jane Tuesday eats an orange and tells us to "Eat Your Colors."
|Episode 4100||Nutrition|| Jane Tuesday: Raspberry|
Jane Tuesday eats a tasty red raspberry and tells us to "Eat Your Colors Today."
|Episode 4108||Nutrition|| Journey to Bert|
Big Bird seeks to find Bert in a Food World.
|Episode 4085||Nutrition|| "Look What a Carrot Can Do"|
A song about how carrots are grown, all the different ways they can be prepared and how they are good for the body.
|Episode 4086||Nutrition|| Make Your Own Sundae Sunday|
Two boys create ice cream sundaes using low-fat vanilla ice cream, nuts, and a pear.
|Episode 4089||Nutrition|| "The Mango Tango"|
Telly and Rosita model excitement about mangoes through song.
|Episode 4095||Nutrition|| The Spanish Word of the Day: "Zanahoria"|
Through song, Grover not only teaches young viewers the Spanish word for carrot, but also explains how they are good for the body.
|Episode 4123||Nutrition|| Special of the Day|
Telly is hungry and calls on Alan at Hooper's Store for lunch. Alex Trebek appears instead, however, and leads him on in a Jeopardy-esque quiz game about food called "Special of the Day."
|Episode 4117||Nutrition|| Super Wendy|
Super Wendy takes her meal home from a restaurant in a to-go box, solving other problems along the way.
|Episode 4089||Nutrition|| Traction Jackson: Fruit Snack Samba|
TJ and his dog Bernie sing about choosing fruits as an anytime snack.
|Episode 4087||Nutrition|| Veggie Dance|
Do the Veggie Dance!
|Episode 4088||Physical Movement|| Action Elephant: Kick Up Your Feet|
The Elephant convinces Maria to move her body by kicking up her feet.
|Episode 4090||Physical Movement|| Chasing the Cheese|
Telly, Elmo, Zoe, and Baby Bear prepare to chase the cheese for exercise. A sportscaster interviews the participants...and eventually the cheese starts chasing them!
|Episode 4083||Physical Movement|| Exercise and Favorite Sport|
Papa Bear asks Antonio what his favorite sport is and they talk about exercise.
|Episode 4109||Physical Movement|| Healthy Storybook Moments: Sleeping Beauty|
Sleeping Beauty spends more time dancing and leaping than sleeping. By the time Prince Cha-Cha-Charming walks in, however, she's fast asleep.
|Episode 4107||Physical Movement|| Jack Be Tired, Jack Be Slow|
Prairie Dawn motivates a sluggish Jack Be Nimble to eat a healthy breakfast so he can have more energy to jump.
|Episode 4126||Physical Movement|| Jumping Jacks|
Murray Monster demonstrates jumping jacks with Finn.
|Episode 4083||Physical Movement|| "Play Ball Song"|
Children are shown being active while having fun playing with age-appropriate balls.
|Episode 4084||Physical Movement|| Renoir Exercise|
A boy and a girl disagree over a Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting of a lady rowing a boat. The boy thinks its just a painting and its no big deal, but the girl thinks there is a lot going on in the painting. She explains how the lady was strong to row the boat because as a little girl she ate healthy food and exercised a lot.
|Episode 4083||Physical Movement|| "Riding a Tricycle"|
Elmo sings while pedaling down Sesame Street.
|Episode 4090||Physical Movement|| Splits|
Papa Bear has Antonio demonstrate his capability of doing splits.
|Physical Movement|| The 'Can You Do It' Game|
Snuffy tries counting to ten while jumping.
|Episode 4084||Physical Movement|| "Stretch, Wiggle, Yay!"|
Slimey and other worms "stretch, wiggle, yay" to Oscar's song parody of "YMCA."
|Episode 4088||Physical Movement|| Your Amazing Body|
A young girl shows what she can do with her amazing body and how she keeps it healthy and strong.
|Episode 4087||Hygiene|| Teeth Care|
Papa Bear asks Antonio how he takes care of his teeth.
|Episode 4117||Mental Health|| Buenas Noches|
When Baby Bear goes to sleep, he says "Goodnight." When Rosita goes to sleep, she says "Buenas noches."
|Episode 4117||Mental Health|| Buenas Noches|
A girl says "Buenas noches" and goes to bed.
|Episode 4087||Mental Health|| Preparing for Bed|
A girl takes a bath, and prepares to go to sleep.
|Episode 4100||Mental Health|| "I'm Takin' a Break"|
Big Bird wants to take a rest from playing tag with Elmo, but Elmo wants to keep playing. Through song, Big Bird emphasizes the importance of resting to Elmo. When the song is over, they're ready to continue playing tag.