Many experts believe that long-term healthy behaviors are more likely to take hold when developed at a young age. According to researchers from Bogotá, Colombia, learning those behaviors from Sesame Street characters might be one way to get young kids on the right track.
The 6-month study, presented at the 2013 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, in Dallas, included 1,216 children, aged 3–5, and 928 parents. Throughout the intervention, Sesame Street characters presented education on exercise, nutrition and other healthy habits. The program took place in 14 preschools in underprivileged neighborhoods.
At the 6-month mark, the study authors reported significant improvements in knowledge and attitude toward healthy behaviors in both children and parents. There was also an increase in healthy weight among the young participants.
The researchers found that many participants maintained the healthy habits long after the initial intervention. “After 36 months, the educational intervention maintained a beneficial trend towards a healthy lifestyle in children and their parents,” the authors reported.