'Sesame Street' Takes On Obesity, Healthy Diet

Rosita, left, and Elmo in the NPR studios.

Rosita, left, and Elmo in the NPR studios. Barry Gordemer, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Barry Gordemer, NPR

When Sesame Street begins its 36th season on Public Television today, children who tune in will be getting lessons in exercise and healthy eating along with tips on spelling and math.

Obesity in the United States has reached epidemic proportions among adults. For children, the news is even more startling. According the Centers for Disease Control, up to 30 percent of kids are overweight — and childhood obesity has more than doubled since 1980.

Those figures are particularly troubling for a leading educational program that's often symbolized by a character with "suspect" eating habits.

So the puppets on Sesame Street — even Cookie Monster — will try to reverse the obesity trend.

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