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."
|Food Around the World and Eating with Family||Episode 4096||Nutrition|| Rosita comments that there is great food around the world. She also said how eating food together with family is a great way also. Together with her family, they are getting ready to eat Chinese food.
|Food Equals Energy||Episode 4105||Nutrition||Trash Gordon eats a banana to be healthy and strong. He has the energy now to lift up a boulder over his head.|
|Food Equals Energy||Episode 4090||Nutrition|| 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.
|Fruits||Episode 4085||Nutrition|| Grover asks Ken Jennings to name something that is sweet and full of vitamins. In the form of a question, Jennings answered, "What is a fruit?" and got it correct. His prize is a pineapple.
|Fruits as a healthy snack||Nutrition|| Samara and Telly says 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 wanted a banana and they both dance along with two bananas that popped up.
|Fruit Rap||Nutrition|| Bert sings a rap about fruits.
|Healthy Choices||Episode 4103||Nutrition|| 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.
|Trying new food||Episode 4097||Nutrition|| 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.
|Water||Episode 4107||Nutrition|| Maria explains how water helps keep your body cool and gives you energy. However, Oscar thinks water is fun to spray Maria with one of his elephant's trunk.
|Active||Physical Movement|| 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.
|Dance||Physical Movement|| Zoe says that dancing is a great way to move the body and make them healthy and strong.
|Exercising with a ball||Episode 4101||Physical Movement|| 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.
|Exercising to music||Episode 4084||Physical Movement|| Elmo and Lang Lang shows that exercising to music keeps you in shape and is fun too.
|Froggy jumps||Episode 4102||Physical Movement|| 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!"
|Jumping||Episode 4100||Physical Movement||Grover says that jumping is a great way to move the body and make them healthy and strong. At that moment, Grover slips and falls down. He replies that jumping is fun, but falling down isn't.|
|Moving your body||Episode 4108||Physical Movement||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.|
|Playing indoor||Episode 4095||Physical Movement|| Gordon says that there are ways to exercise our body indoors, when it is raining outside. He suggest that we can play with a scarf, dance to music, or have an indoor parade, which Big Bird and two kids wanted to do and Gordon joins them.
|Riding a bike||Episode 4104||Physical Movement|| Maria asks, "What is a great way to be healthy and strong?" At that moment, kids passed by on their bikes and Elmo comes in on his tricycle with the song, "Riding My Tricycle," playing in the background.
|Stretching||Episode 4093||Physical Movement|| 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.
|Walking||Episode 4083||Physical Movement|| Elmo and Rosita are playing baseball together with Joe Torre watching them. Elmo asks Joe Torre on how he should pitch the ball to Rosita. However, Joe Torre tells Elmo to walk her because it is good for the lungs, heart, muscle, and it keeps your body healthy. So Elmo and Rosita decide not to play baseball and go for a walk instead.
|Walking||Episode 4092||Physical Movement|| 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.
|Happy||Episode 4089||Mental Health|| Allison 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.
|Napping||Episode 4087||Mental Health|| 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".
|How to stay healthy in Sign Language||Episode 4106||Health|| Elmo and children from the Little Theater of the Deaf signed words (jump, run, dance, and rest) to show how to stay healthy.
|Prevent germs from spreading||Episode 4088||Health|| Richard Kind and Snuffy explain how covering your mouth when coughing and covering your nose or snuffle when sneezing, can prevent germs from spreading.
|Brushing Teeth||Episode 4086||Hygiene|| Buster the Horse brushes his teeth to keep them healthy and clean after every meal. His breath also smells nice and minty too.
Season 36 and 37 also introduced many new sketches and songs to the show's catalog focusing on nutrition, healthy life styles and hygiene. 
|Picture||Summary||Earliest Known Appearance||Objective||Description|
|Apple||Episode 4129||Nutrition||Amy Sedaris uses an apple to tell the viewer about her favorite snack, although Cookie Monster keeps interrupting her.|
|"Breakfast is the Best Meal of the Day"||Episode 4133||Nutrition||Ernie and Bert: 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.|
|"The Breakfast Club"||Episode 4113||Nutrition||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.|
|Fruit Monster||Episode 4115||Nutrition||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.|
|"A Cookie is a Sometime Food"||Episode 4089||Nutrition||Hoots the Owl explains that cookies are foods that you can eat sometimes, but fruits are delicious and healthy all the time.|
|Eat to Stay Healthy||Episode 4085||Nutrition||Grover asks Amaya what people should eat to keep healthy.|
|Favorite Thing to Eat for Breakfast||Episode 4124||Nutrition||A Muppet monster asks Venetia her favorite thing to eat for breakfast and she said it is eggs.|
|Favorite Fruit||Episode 4115||Nutrition||Broccoli asks Camaria questions about her favorite fruit.|
|Favorite Vegetable||Episode 4117||Nutrition||Bernie Broccoli guesses Anthony's favorite vegetable.|
|Favorite Veggie||Episode 4124||Nutrition||Broccoli quizzes Pete about his favorite vegetable.|
|Food Equals Energy||Episode 4107||Nutrition||A six-year-old girl named Carlotta explains how healthy foods give the body energy.|
|Food Equals Energy||Episode 4109||Nutrition||Caroline and Christopher have something to eat for energy.|
|Fruit Dance||Episode 4089||Nutrition||Do the Fruit Dance!|
|Global Grover French Market||Episode 4085||Nutrition||A young girl and her father go shopping at a market in Paris in preparation for a visit with her grandmother.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4083||Nutrition||Healthy Food Cartoon: Apple.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4132||Nutrition||Healthy Food Cartoon: Artichoke .|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4100||Nutrition||Healthy Food Song: Broccoli.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4134||Nutrition||Healthy Food Cartoon: Carrots.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4090||Nutrition||Healthy Food Song: Corn.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4092||Nutrition||Healthy Food Cartoon: Grapes.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4084||Nutrition||Healthy Food Cartoon: Grapefruit.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4085||Nutrition||Healthy Food Cartoon: Milk.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4089||Nutrition||Healthy Food Cartoon: Pear.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4116||Nutrition||Healthy Food Cartoon: Peas.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4107||Nutrition||Healthy Food Song: Potatoes.|
|Healthy Food Cartoon||Episode 4087||Nutrition||Healthy Food Cartoon: Strawberries.|
|"Healthy Food"||Episode 4085||Nutrition||In a remake of a 1980's sketch, Cookie Monster and Wyclef Jean rap about healthy food.|
|Healthy Snacks||Episode 4084||Nutrition||Elmo and Ben pretend to eat healthy snacks. Ben eats applesauce and apples, while Elmo eats a tuna fish sandwich and a pear.|
|Healthy Snacks||Episode 4089||Nutrition||Elmo and Jamie pretend to eat healthy snacks such as broccoli, apples, pears, and bananas.|
|Healthy Storybook Moments||Episode 4125||Nutrition||The story of Hansel and Gretel backfires when the characters would rather eat bread crumbs than the witch's house!|
|"I Eat the Colors of the Rainbow"||Episode 4085||Nutrition||A boy sings about colors connecting with with specific, healthy foods.|
| Jane Tuesday:|
|Episode 4120||Nutrition||Detective Jane Tuesday looks for a snack both crunchy and sweet. She finds it thanks to her brother, munching on an apple.|
| Jane Tuesday:|
|Episode 4096||Nutrition||Jane Tuesday eats a tasty blueberry in the Case of the Letter B.|
| Jane Tuesday:|
|Episode 4085||Nutrition||Jane Tuesday eats a tasty green beans and tells us to "Eat Your Colors Today.”|
| Jane Tuesday:|
|Episode 4089||Nutrition||Jane Tuesday eats a orange and tells us to "Eat Your Colors.”|
| Jane Tuesday:|
|Episode 4100||Nutrition||Jane Tuesday eats a tasty red raspberry and tells us to "Eat Your Colors Today.”|
|Journey to Bert||Episode 4108||Nutrition||Big Bird seeks to find Bert in a Food World.|
|"Look What a Carrot Can Do"||Episode 4085||Nutrition||A song about how carrots are grown, all the different ways they can be prepared and how they are good for the body.|
|Make Your Own Sundae Sunday||Nutrition||Two boys create ice cream sundaes using low-fat vanilla ice cream, nuts, and a pear.|
|"The Mango Tango"||Episode 4089||Nutrition||Telly and Rosita model excitement about mangoes through song.|
|The Spanish Word of the Day: "Zanahoria"||Episode 4095||Nutrition||Through song, Grover not only teaches young viewers the Spanish word for carrot, but also explains how they are good for the body.|
|Special of the Day||Episode 4123||Nutrition||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-like quiz game about food called "Special of the Day."|
|Super Wendy||Episode 4117||Nutrition||Super Wendy takes her meal home from a restaurant in a to-go box, solving other problems along the way.|
|Traction Jackson: Fruit Snack Samba||Episode 4089||Nutrition||TJ and his dog Bernie sing about choosing fruits as an anytime snack.|
|Veggie Dance||Episode 4087||Nutrition||Do the Veggie Dance!|
|Action Elephant: Kick Up Your Feet||Episode 4088||Physical Movement||An Elephant convinces Maria to move her body by kicking up her feet.|
|Chasing the Cheese||Episode 4090||Physical Movement||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!|
|Exercise and Favorite Sport||Episode 4083||Physical Movement||Papa Bear asks Antonio what his favorite sport is and they talk about exercise.|
|Healthy Storybook Moments||Episode 4109||Physical Movement||Sleeping Beauty spends more time dancing and leaping than sleeping. By the time Prince Cha-Cha-Charming walks in, however, she's fast asleep.|
|Jack Be Tired, Jack be Slow||Episode 4107||Physical Movement||Shows the importance about eating a healthy breakfast and staying active by jumping.|
|Jumping Jacks||Episode 4126||Physical Movement||A Muppet monster demonstrates jumping jacks with Finn.|
|"Play Ball Song"||Episode 4083||Physical Movement||Children are shown being active while having fun playing with age-appropriate balls.|
|Renoir Exercise||Episode 4084||Physical Movement||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 exercise a lot.|
|Riding a Tricycle||Episode 4083||Physical Movement||Elmo sings "Riding a Tricycle" while pedaling down Sesame Street.|
|Splits||Episode 4090||Physical Movement||Papa Bear has Antonio demonstrate his capability of doing splits.|
|The 'Can You Do It' Game||Physical Movement||Snuffy tries counting to ten while jumping.|
|The Worm Workout Song||Episode 4084||Physical Movement||Slimey and other worms "stretch, wiggle, yay" to Oscar's song parody of "YMCA."|
|Your Amazing Body||Episode 4088||Physical Movement||A young girl shows what she can do with her amazing body and how she keeps it healthy and strong.|
|Teeth Care||Episode 4087||Hygiene||Papa Bear asks Antonio how he takes care of his teeth.|
|Buenas noches||Episode 4117||Mental Health||When Baby Bear goes to sleep, he says "Goodnight." When Rosita goes to sleep, she says "Buenas noches."|
|Buenas noches||Episode 4117||Mental Health||A girl says "Buenas noches" and goes to bed.|
|Preparing for Bed||Episode 4087||Mental Health||A girl takes a bath, and prepares to go to sleep.|
|"I'm Takin' a Break"||Episode 4100||Mental Health||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. As they rest, they watch some kids ride on their scooters, Zoe dancing, and Telly bouncing on his pogo stick. When the song is over, Big Bird is ready to continue the game of tag with Elmo.|