October 30th, 2013
05:52 PM ET
9 years ago

First Lady of Sesame Street

Washington (CNN) - Michelle Obama doesn't need directions to Sesame Street, it comes to her.

The first lady was joined Wednesday by two of Sesame Street's popular characters, Elmo and Rosita, in the White House State Dining Room to announce a plan to use the children's characters and their neighbors on the show to market healthy foods to children.

The idea is to "get our kids excited about healthy foods," Obama said Wednesday.

Characters like Elmo and Rosita and their likeness will be licensed out free of charge to the Produce Marketing Association for use in a wide-sweeping campaign to make fruits and vegetables more attractive to children, it was announced at the event.

"Elmo loves healthy foods. Elmo thinks that fruits and vegetables are delicious," said Elmo in his high-pitched voice, and speaking of himself in the third person, which his character is known for doing.

The first lady spoke of the overwhelming amount of marketing aimed at steering children to processed foods and away from healthier alternatives.

"We've got some good ambassadors right here," she said, referring to Elmo and Rosita. Obama's interacted with the characters before, having made an appearance on Sesame Street to promote her "Let's Move!" initiative for physical activity.

The first lady recently concluded a meeting of food industry representatives sponsored by the White House on the marketing initiative. According to a statement from her office, Obama used the meeting to call "on stakeholders to leverage the power of marketing to promote healthy products and decrease the marketing of unhealthy products to kids."

Healthy eating and physical activity have become Obama's core issues as first lady.

"The deck is stacked against healthy foods," she said.

It's hard to deny a corporate element to the initiative, with the Produce Marketing Association representing the food industry.

Representatives of the Partnership for a Healthier America, formed in conjunction with Obama's Let's Move! campaign were also present.

Obama was joined after the event by area school children in the White House garden for the annual fall harvest. Elmo and Rosita were there to offer encouragement. The garden has become central to Obama's push for healthier eating.

Filed under: Michelle Obama
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    Only an evil person could find fault with children eating healthy food. Any takers?

    October 30, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. Wake up People!

    We love you Mrs. Obama!!

    October 30, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  3. anonymous

    Has all of Michelle Obama's healthy eating reduced the size of her enormous back side? No? Well might I suggest she work on that a bit more before telling others what they should eat?

    October 30, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Great program. I am so proud of Mrs Obama for her determination to help children and their families eat healthy.
    And, I love Sesame Street. Glad Romney didn't get his chance "to get rid of it" as he promised to do.
    Good job!!!

    October 30, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    So glad Michelle is our First Lady.
    I can't imagine queen wannabe the twit's wife caring about the little people.

    October 30, 2013 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  6. tnwoman

    Elmo even dressed up in his best collar and tie to meet the First Lady at the White House. He looks so cute! However, I am pessimistic if anything can be seriously done about this problem of childhood obesity and healthy eating for children OR adults. After several DECADES of fast food; quick pizza that can be delivered to your front door; high fructose corn syrup in most foods; GMO "food", etc., I doubt if anything can be done about this problem. I do admire Mrs. Obama for trying!

    October 30, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |