United and Sesame Workshop- promoting healthy eating
habits for children and families on limited income
UnitedHealthcare and Sesame Workshop are collaborating on a
three-year project to promote healthy eating habits for children
and families on limited incomes. The bilingual (English/Spanish),
multimedia program aims to guide parents and caregivers to
better understand the relationship between healthy food habits
and children’s healthy growth, development and learning.
This program – Partners in Healthy Habits for Life – leverages
the contacts and outreach channels available to our two
organizations to reach and educate America’s parents and
Program content will spotlight the value of nutrition and healthy
eating for families with children between the ages of two and five
coping with “food insecurity,” defined by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services (HHS), as “households where there is a lack of
access to enough food to fully meet basic needs at all times due
to a lack of financial resources.”
According to the USDA, more than 49 million households in the
U.S. are food insecure. The USDA’s 2008 statistics show a 3.5%
jump in food insecurity, the highest level since the department
began tracing statistics in 1995. In addition, the number of
Americans receiving emergency food from the largest U.S.
hunger-relief charity Feeding America and its partners rose 46
percent from 2005 to 2009. Thirty-seven million people, including
14 million children, needed emergency food aid each year, more
than 10 percent of the U.S. population. African-Americans and
Hispanic Americans have been disproportionately affected by
hunger -- black Americans account for 34% of people seeking
food and Hispanics 21%.
When confronted with a very limited budget, families are more
inclined to make food purchases based on cost rather than
nutritional value (i.e., buying a large bag of rice instead of fruits
 Hunger and Food Insecurity in the U.S., Food Research and Action Center (2008).
and vegetables). Additionally, families often lack the knowledge or resources to prepare cost-effective meals that are healthy and can last longer.
This is a critical issue, as poor food choice is associated with a range of health issues, including obesity: one in three children in the U.S. is obese or overweight, putting them on the road to
lifelong chronic conditions like hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.
The Partners in Healthy Habits for Life initiative will include
video, print, and online resources about healthy food choices, including:
? Original Sesame Street DVD
? Magazine for children and families
? Parent/caregiver guide
? Web presence with downloadable materials and online game
Children’s health is a major focus of UnitedHealthcare and its parent, UnitedHealth Group, which provides services to one out of every eight children in the United States. UnitedHealthcare is committed to supporting low-income parents and their children with access to high-quality, affordable health care, and we are proud to collaborate with Sesame Workshop on a project that can make a positive and healthy difference in their lives.
UnitedHealthcare and UnitedHealth Group supports a wide range of programs and services committed to promoting nutrition and healthy eating and combating obesity, diabetes, and other related health issues.
 Centers for Disease Control, May 2008.