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Academy at Rensselaer Education Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsAcademy of the Holy Names: Delayed 2 HrsAchievements & Kids Express Mplwood: Delayed 2 Hrs, no before careAchievements St Kateri Tekakwitha: Delayed 2 HrsAchievements and Kids Express TBGC: Delayed 2 HrsAdirondack Enrichment: Delayed Until 12:30pAesthetic Science Institute: Delayed 2 Hrs, Classes begin at 11 amAlbany Leadership Charter High: Delayed 2 HrsAmbleside School: ClosedAmsterdam City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastAmsterdam Head Start: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportAn Nur Islamic School: Delayed 2 HrsAndes CSD: Delayed 2 HrsArgyle CSD: Delayed 2 HrsArkville Head Start: ClosedAugustine Classical Academy: ClosedAustin's School of Spa Technology: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportAverill Park CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESAverill Park Pre School: Delayed 3 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, No AM PgmBallston Spa CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBattenkill Community Services: Closed, Hockey game still on, will call with timesBennington County Meals: Open, Home delivery delayed Cafe openBerkshire Country Day School: Delayed 2 HrsBerlin CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBerne-Knox-Westerlo CSD: Closed, Offices are closed.Best Fitness (Schenectady): Delayed, No Morning Classes, Club Open No morning classes classes resume 430pBethlehem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESBethlehem Children's School: Delayed 2 HrsBishop Maginn HS: Delayed 2 HrsBluebirds' Nest Preschool: ClosedBroadalbin-Perth CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No Breakfast, No PTECH, AgTECH, TEC-SMARTBrown School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Morning PLUS ProgramBrunswick (Brittonkill) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBrunswick Children's Academy: Delayed 2 HrsBurnt Hills-Ballston Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, 2-hour delay (final)Butterfly Dreams Daycare: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9:30 amCOARC Adult Transportation: Delayed 2 HrsCairo-Durham CSD: ClosedCalvary Preschool: ClosedCanajoharie CSD: Closed, No PM ActivitiesCapital Reg Career & Tech (Albany): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESCatholic Central HS: Delayed 2 HrsCatholic Schools Office: Delayed 2 Hrs, Principals Meeting at 10:30Catskill CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KCatskill Mt. Christian Academy: ClosedCenter For Early Learning: ClosedChatham CSD: Delayed 2 HrsChatham Kids Club: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 8:30Childhood Friends Inc.: Delayed, We will open at 9:00am for All children today!Christ Our Light Catholic Church: Delayed 2 Hrs, Office opening & Adoration delayed 2 hrs. Morning services cancelledChrist the King Early Childhood Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, All programs open @ 9:30 AMChristian Brothers Academy: ClosedCircle Of Friends (Delmar): Delayed 2 Hrs, Wrap around delayed 2 hoursCircle of Friends (Ravena): Delayed 2 Hrs, 2.5 hour class is closed 5 hour classes delayedClifton Park Nursery School: Delayed 1 HrCobleskill Campus Child Care Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9AMCobleskill-Richmondville CSD: Closed, Offices Open at 9 a.m.Cohoes City SD: Delayed 2 HrsColonie Youth Centers: Open, No BSPColumbia Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsCommunity Library Cobleskill, NY: ClosedCooperstown CSD: Closed, No AM BOCES, School is now CLOSED.Corinth CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastCoxsackie-Athens CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastCrossFit Schenectady: Delayed, No Morning ClassesCrossroads Center for Children: Delayed 2 Hrs, Day Care open @ 9:00Crown Point CSD: Delayed 2 HrsDay Nursery (S Glens Falls): Delayed Until 12:35pDelaware Academy CSD at Delhi: Delayed 2 HrsDoane Stuart School: Delayed 2 HrsDolgeville CSD: Closed, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastDoors of Hope: Delayed 1 HrDuanesburg CSD: ClosedEarly Childhood Learning Ctr: ClosedEarly Childhood Education Center: Delayed 2 HrsEarly Childhood Education Ctr-Troy: Delayed 2 HrsEast Greenbush CSD: Delayed 2 HrsEco Baby Daycare & Preschool: Delayed 2 HrsEdinburg Common SD: Delayed 2 HrsExecutive Woods Childcare: Delayed 2 HrsFaith Bible Academy: Delayed 2 HrsFirst Friends Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Program, Enrichment program begins at 1130amFonda-Fultonville CSD: ClosedFort Plain CSD: Closed, Elem recognition breakfast moved to ThursdayFranklin County Technical SD: Delayed 2 HrsFulmont St Johnsville Head Start: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportFulton County Office for Aging: Open, No Transportation, No Social Adult Day Care No Home Delivered Meals Meal Sites ClosedFulton-Montgomery CC: Delayed 2 Hrs, Campus will open at 10 am.Gabriel Abbott Memorial School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No morning daycareGalway CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGeorge Washington School: Delayed 2 HrsGermantown CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGilboa-Conesville CSD: ClosedGlens Falls City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESGlens Falls Common SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastGlens Falls Head Start Center: Delayed 2 HrsGloversville City SD: Delayed 2 HrsGood Ground Christian School: ClosedGrapeville Christian School: ClosedGreen Island UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastGreen Tech High Charter School: Delayed 2 HrsGreenberg Child Care Center: Delayed Until 9:30aGreenbush Child Caring: Open, No AM ProgramGreene County Nutrition Program: Closed, Athens, Catskill, Coxsackie Congregates & Homebound ClosedGreene County YMCA: Open, No Morning ClassesGreenfield Public Schools: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KGreenville CSD: ClosedGreenwich CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESGuilderland CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESHFM BOCES Adult Literacy: Delayed, ALZ opens @ 10am GLZ opens @ 10amHFM Career & Tech Center: Delayed 2 HrsHadley-Luzerne CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastHansel & Gretel Nursery School: ClosedHappy Kids Day Care Center: Delayed 2 HrsHawthorne Valley School: Delayed 2 HrsHebrew Academy - Capital District: Delayed 2 HrsHelderberg Christian School: ClosedHelping Hands Pre-School: Delayed, No Morning ClassesHoly Spirit School (East G'Bush): Delayed 2 HrsHometown Health Center: Delayed 2 HrsHoosick Falls CSD: Delayed 2 HrsHope 7 Community Center: Open, 9am-6pm, Reg. After School Food Pantry Open9:30a-11:45Hudson City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No Breakfast, No tutoring centerHunter-Tannersville CSD: ClosedIchabod Crane (Kinderhook) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsImmaculate Conception (Glenville): Open, 9:00 am mass cancelledIndian Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No BreakfastInlet Common SD: Delayed 2 HrsJefferson CSD: ClosedJohnstown City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESJubilee Child Day Care Center: Delayed 2 HrsKid Kampus: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 8:30AMKidsFirst Childcare Center: Delayed 2 HrsKim's Kids Daycare: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastKingsbury Seventh-day Adventist Sch: Delayed 2 HrsKingston City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, Kingston SD is on a 2 hr delay no AM BOCESLa Salle Institute (Troy): Delayed 2 HrsLakeside Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Pre-SchoolLansingburgh CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Breakfast, Lansingburgh CSD is operating on a 2 hour delayLatham Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM KLearning To Know Educational Center: Delayed 1-1/2 HrsLexington Center Fulton Co ARC: Open, No TransportationLiberty Ent/ Montgomery Co. ARC: Delayed 2 HrsLife Kids Before/ After School: Open, No AM ProgramLifeSong Inc (Saratoga): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc (Schenectady): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc. (Albany): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc. (Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLil' Lambs Christian Daycare Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsLit'l Steps Pre-School: Closed, No AM Pre-KLittle Feet Daycare Center: Delayed 2 HrsLittle Tot Nursery School: Closed, No AM Pre-KLiving Res DCOP (Albany): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Saratoga): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Schenectady): Delayed 1 HrLong Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastLoudonville Christian School: Delayed 2 HrsMalta Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Toddler Class, No Toddler ClassMargaretville CSD: ClosedMayfield CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastMechanicville City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMekeel Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-SchoolMenands UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMiddleburgh CSD: ClosedMillbrook CSD: Delayed 2 HrsMohawk Trail Regional SD: Delayed 2 HrsMohonasen CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESMontessori School (Schenectady): Delayed, No AM Program, opens at noon, School will open at noon for PM programming.Montgomery County Office for Aging: Delayed 2 Hrs, Advisory Council cancelledMorning Star Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, stay tuned, be safeMother Teresa Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am nursery program, School opens at 9:45amMountain Road School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Before School Care.Mt Moriah Academy: Delayed 2 HrsMyers Education Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delayN. Greenbush Little Red School: Delayed 2 HrsNew Lebanon CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNew Paltz CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNewmeadow at Malta: Delayed 2 HrsNewmeadow at Queensbury: Delayed 2 HrsNiskayuna CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNorth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNorthville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastNotre Dame-Bishop Gibbons: Delayed 2 HrsO.K. Kids, Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsOak Hill School: Delayed 2 HrsOhav Shalom Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Program, No am care for Ohav Shalom school starts at 930 staff report 900 amOnteora CSD: Closed, No AM BOCESOppenheim-Ephratah-St Johnsville SD: ClosedOur Lady Queen of Peace (Rotterdam): Open, Faith Formation classes cancelled dut to closing of Schalmont SchoolsOur Lady of Victory Early Childhood: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KOur Savior's Lutheran School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-SchoolOur World Montessori: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 10:45 a.m.Owen D. Young CSD: Closed, No AM BOCESPark Avenue Nursery School: ClosedParsons Early Head Start Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff report at 9:00 AMParsons Early Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff report at 9:00 AMPerth Bible Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsPine Plains CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESPineview Comm Church Pre-School: Delayed 1 Hr, open at 8:30Princetown Evangelical Presbyterian: Closed, Potluck & Prayer cancelled RockLife cancelledProspect Center: Delayed 2 HrsPumpkin Patch (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsQueensbury UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESQuestar III BOCES - Sarah's Sisters: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Catskill Academy: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Columbia-Green Ed Ctr: Delayed, No AM BOCES, 2 HR DelayQuestar III Rensselaer Academy: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Rensselaer Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, Q3 New Vision is closedQuestar III Sackett Educational Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsRavena-Coeymans-Selkirk CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESRed Hook CSD: Delayed 2 HrsRensselaer City SD: Delayed 2 HrsRhinebeck CSD: Delayed 2 HrsRiverRun Community Montessori: ClosedRoots and Wings Montessori: Delayed 2 Hrs, No before care. Open 9:30Rosa Venerini Early Childhood Cente: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am classes or beforecare School opens at 11amRoxbury CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSacred Heart School (Troy): Delayed 2 Hrs, TSL will open at 9:00amSalem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastSaratoga Academy Arts & Science: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga Bridges: Delayed 1 HrSaratoga Central Catholic HS: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga County Senior Meals: ClosedSaratoga Independent School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No Before CareSaratoga Springs City SD: Delayed 2 HrsSaugerties CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchalmont CSD: Closed, Level 1 ClosureSchenectady City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSchenectady Jewish CC Day Care: Delayed, Opening at 8:30 amSchenevus CSD: ClosedSchodack CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchoharie CSD: ClosedSchoharie Career and Technical Scho: ClosedSchoharie County ARC: Open, Buses on Snow Routes, Staff report regular time Public bus aides report regular timeSchoharie County Com. Action Prg.: ClosedSchoharie Cty Child Dvp Cobleskill: Closed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Head Start, HS & EHS closedSchoharie Cty HeadStart (Schoharie): Closed, HS & EHS closedSchool's Out, Inc.: Open, No AM ProgramSchuylerville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastScotia-Glenville CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSharon Springs CSD: ClosedShenendehowa CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM BOCESShooting Stars Nursery & After Sch.: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Will open at 9amSkidmore Early Childhood Center: Delayed, No AM Pre-SchoolSouth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouth Glens Falls CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouthern Adirondack Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delaySouthern Berkshire Regional SD: ClosedSpa Christian School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-KSpotted Zebra Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, SZ opens at 9:30 Program begins at 10:30 K Program begins at 11:00St Ambrose School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM PgmSt Anne Institute: Delayed 1-1/2 Hrs, Staff Report, No Trans, No school for day service StudentsSt Clement's Regional Catholic Sch: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-SchoolSt Edward's Church: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Mass and morning activitiesSt George's School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, AEP will begin at 11 amSt Gregory School: ClosedSt Jude the Apostle School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Kateri Tekakwitha School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No BreakfastSt Madeleine Sophie Pre-School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Madeleine Sophie School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Academy (Hoosick Falls): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Church (Crescent): Delayed, No morning MassSt Mary's Institute ES (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's School (Ballston Spa): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Before Care open at 8:00 amSt Mary's School (Waterford): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Mary's-St Alphonsus Rgnl Cath: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Pre-K No AM Camp KerrySt Mary's/St Alphonsus Noah's Ark: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9:45St Paul's Childhood Center: Open, No AM Pre-K, Part-day room closed only. Extended-day rooms open.St Pius X School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Stephen's Pre-K Acad (Delmar): Closed, No preschool today. After school enrichments are on until further notice.St Thomas the Apostle School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KStepping Stone Pre & DCC (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsStillwater CSD: Delayed 2 HrsStory Place Preschool: Delayed, Open at 10, before care closedStorybook Academy: ClosedSullivan BOCES: Closed, Offices will open at 10 amSunshine Kids Corner: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9AMSusan Odell Taylor School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No coffee hourTLC Christian Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastTaconic Hills CSD: Delayed 2 HrsTech Valley High School: Closed, Staff report at 10 AM.Temple Israel Nursery and Day Care: Open, No early drop off School starts at 9:00The Albany Academies (AA & AAG): ClosedThe Beagle School: Delayed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-School, All AM programs closedThe Downtown School: Delayed 2 HrsThe Hyde Collection: Delayed 2 HrsThe Kid's Place Preschool: Delayed 1 HrThe King's School: ClosedTiny Tots Early Learning Center: Closed, No AM Pre-School, No AM Preschool PM TBDTri-Village Nursery School: ClosedTroy City SD: Delayed 2 HrsTroy Prep: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Elementary School: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Middle High School: Delayed 2 HrsUMC Daycare Norton Hill: Delayed 1 Hr, No AM Pre-KUnlimited Potential, Inc: Delayed 1 HrUpstate Transit: Delayed 2 HrsVictory Christian Academy: ClosedVoorheesville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastWSWHE BOCES - Gick Road: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 moth offices 2 hour delayWWAARC—Albany & Queensbury: Delayed 1 Hr, Staff Report Regular TimeWaldorf School (Saratoga Springs): Delayed 2 Hrs, No 2 day PreKWarren Street Academy - The Bridge: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWashington County Nutrition Program: Closed, No Senior Meal Sites ; No Home Delivered MealsWaterford-Halfmoon UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWatervliet City SD: Delayed 2 HrsWebutuck (Northeast) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsWesley Evergreen Adult Day Program: Delayed 2 HrsWest Canada Valley CSD: ClosedWheelerville UFSD: ClosedWhispering Pines (Cobleskill): ClosedWhispering Pines - Schoharie UPK: ClosedWhispering Pines Pre Sc (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Pre-sch (Delanson): ClosedWhispering Pines Presch - Boulevard: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Preschool at Meco: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWilton Baptist Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM KWindham-Ashland-Jewett CSD: ClosedWonderland Nursery School: ClosedWoodland Hill Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, Delayed 2 hours . No early care. No toddler AM session, delayed 2 hours. No early care. No toddler AM sessionWorcester CSD: ClosedWynantskill UFSD: Delayed 2 HrsYMCA (Bethlehem): Open, No Morning ClassesYMCA (East Greenbush): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9am, Before School Care 6:45amYMCA (Greater Glenville): Open, No AM classes before noon.. No babysitting before noon.YMCA (Guilderland): Open, No AM Pre-School, No Morning Classes, No AM branch childcareYMCA (Schenectady): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch Closed for AMYMCA (Troy): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9amYMCA Southern Saratoga: Open, No Morning ClassesYWCA of Schenectady Children's Ctrs: Delayed, YWCA child care @SCCC delay Until 8am. WA site delayed Until 9amYWCA of the Greater Capital Region: Delayed 2 Hrs

Muppets' mini-makeover aims to boost kids' health

Muppets' mini-makeover aims to boost kids' health

Bert and Ernie jump rope and munch apples and carrots, and Cookie Monster has his namesake treat onc
Muppets' mini-makeover aims to boost kids' health
Oumou Balde, 4, left, plays with her teacher Jacqualine Sanchez, right, and some pretend food in a pre-kindergarten class at the Sheltering Arms Learning Center in New York. Balde participated in a program that was produced in conjunction with Sesame S...

Bert and Ernie jump rope and munch apples and carrots, and Cookie Monster has his namesake treat once a week, not every day. Can a Muppets mini-makeover improve kids' health, too?

A three-year experiment in South America suggests it can. Now, the Sesame Street project is coming to the United States.

Already, a test run in a New York City preschool has seen results: Four-year-old Jahmeice Strowder got her mom to make cauliflower for the first time in her life. A classmate, Bryson Payne, bugged his dad for a banana every morning and more salads. A parent brought home a loaf of bread instead of Doritos.

"What we created, I believe, is a culture" of healthy eating to fight a "toxic environment" of junk food and too little exercise, said Dr. Valentin Fuster, a cardiologist at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital.

Six years ago, he started working with Sesame Workshop, producers of television's Sesame Street, on a project aimed at 3-to-5-year-olds.

"At that age they pay attention to everything" and habits can be changed, he said.

The need is clear: A third of U.S. children and teens are obese or overweight. Many don't get enough exercise, and a recent study found that kids' fitness has declined worldwide. They're at high risk for heart and other problems later in life.

"The focus is younger and younger" to try to prevent this, said Dr. Stephen Daniels, a University of Colorado pediatrician and a spokesman for the American Heart Association. The group's annual conference in November featured Fuster's experiment as one of the year's top achievements in heart disease prevention.

For Sesame Street, the project offered a chance to improve the lives of young viewers and give a makeover to certain Muppets.

"While Cookie Monster is an engaging figure, we felt there was an opportunity there to really model healthy eating," said Jorge Baxter, regional director for Latin America for Sesame Workshop.

The new message is that certain things like cookies are "something you can eat sometimes, but there are some foods that you can eat all the time," like vegetables, he said. The healthy messages have been gradually incorporated into the television show, and its producers even made a doctor Muppet — Dr. Ruster (pronounced "Rooster") — in Fuster's image for the preschool project.

It launched in Colombia because U.S. schools that Fuster approached years ago were reluctant, but a wealthy family's foundation was willing to sponsor the experiment in Bogota.

It involved 1,216 children and 928 parents from 14 preschools. Some were given the program and others served as a comparison group.

Kids had training on healthy habits and how the body works for an hour a day for five months using Sesame Workshop-produced videos, a board game (the "heart game"), songs, posters and activities. Parents were involved through take-home assignments and workshops that focused on overcoming barriers to good food and exercise. For example, in areas with poor access to parks or play spaces, parents were coached to encourage kids to use stairs instead of elevators and to walk instead of taking a bus.

Children's weight and exercise habits were measured at the start and 1 1/2 and 3 years later. Although many moved or dropped out by the time the study ended, researchers documented a significant increase in knowledge, attitude and health habit scores among kids in the program versus the comparison group.

The proportion of children at a healthy weight increased from 62 percent at the start to 75 percent at three years for those in the program. Ironically, in Colombia, that mostly meant that more undernourished kids grew to reach a healthy weight.

In New York, where the program plans to launch in several early childhood and Head Start programs this spring and fall, project leaders will have to tackle under- and overweight kids.

"A lot of the kids are from low-income families, shelters," and many have poor access to healthy foods, said Rachael Lynch, director of educational services for an Episcopal Social Services preschool, The Learning Center, in Harlem. "It's a mecca for fast food around here. We're trying to get them to walk past the Chinese food or pizza or McDonald's, to go home and make something."

Her preschool tested the Sesame Street project last summer and "it really took off" with kids and parents, she said.

"They love it. The kids relate, I can't stress it enough," to the Sesame Street characters, she said.

The program had kids work in a nearby community garden one day a week to learn about growing vegetables. They had a "mystery food box" to reach inside, feel and guess the contents, then use what they found to make a healthy snack such as smoothies, fruit salads, microwaved baked apples and apple dip.

Children took home a "weekend update" to list and draw pictures of what they ate. Parents were asked to sign it to encourage an adult focus on healthy meals.

Kateshia Strowder said the program had a big impact on her and her daughter, Jahmeice.

"We'd be in the grocery store and she would name every vegetable. It's amazing. Brussels sprouts — she likes it. Cabbage — she likes it," Strowder said. "I'm not a vegetable eater, to be honest. But I had to learn to do those things for her."

Donte Payne said the same for his son, Bryson, a 4-year-old who also was in the Harlem program.

"It made him more interested in eating more healthy things," Payne said. "He became very interested in salads. He loves salad now."

In Colombia, the program is now expanding to about 20,000 children, and in Spain, a project is starting in Madrid. In New York, a foundation Fuster runs at Mount Sinai will sponsor the U.S. launch, aided by private donors.

Dr. Jaime Cespedes, a pediatric and heart specialist who helped lead the project in Colombia believes it will succeed wherever it is tried.

"Sesame knows kids, knows media and how to communicate the messages," he said. "When you get the kids to deliver the message to the family, change will come."

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