For Immediate Release
April 6, 2009

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Kansas WIC Program, Sesame Workshop Announce Partnership

The Kansas Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), together with Sesame Workshop (the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street) and the National WIC Association have announced a partnership to help children and their families have healthier options and encourage them to make healthy habits a part of their daily routines.

The Kansas WIC Program, administered within the Bureau of Family Health at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), will deliver new and child-friendly messages from the Sesame Street Muppets to aid in implementing the WIC program’s new food packages.  WIC’s new food packages, including for the first time fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, reduced-fat dairy options, and culturally appropriate food choices, will transform the over 34 year-old nutrition program by expanding the food options that are available to WIC’s diverse populations.

David Thomason, director of the Kansas WIC Program, participated in the launch of the Sesame Street partnership in Washington, D.C. along with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Sesame Street’s Elmo and Cookie Monster.

“This is an historic time for the WIC program,” Thomason stated.  “The new food packages are an exciting addition to the program. All WIC participants will enjoy a larger selection of healthy foods that provide important nutrients. And good nutrition translates into good health.” 

In May, each WIC family in Kansas will receive a “Healthy Habits for Life: Get Healthy Now” multi-media educational packet.  The packets consist of an original DVD and storybook starring the Sesame Street Muppets. The DVD features “The Get Healthy Now Show” with Elmo, Telly and Rosita encouraging children to explore ways to eat and drink so that they can play, learn and grow up healthy.  There is also a guide for parents and caregivers that contains strategies and hands-on activities for everyday and on the go.

The Healthy Habits for Life materials will offer messages such as:

The new food packages will be available to Kansas WIC participants beginning the first week of August.  New educational materials for WIC participants, local health department staff and grocery store providers are being developed in conjunction with the new foods. WIC services are provided by local WIC agencies within local health departments.