Healthy living with SpongeBob SquarePants

By Lila Holland

Jul 16, 2005

SpongeBob SquarePants is taking a hint from PBS and getting into the granola game. This June PBS Kids launched its "Happy Healthy Summer" initiative, a campaign that urges children to exercise more and eat healthier foods by offering suggestions through popular kids' TV shows. Blue Sesame Street monster Grover has been making cameo appearances on PBS Kids programs to deliver health messages, and pbskids.org is offering advice to parents on how to keep their kids active and healthy.

Nickelodeon, home to SpongeBob, has been making an effort with its "Let's Just Play" campaign, which encourages kids to get off the couch and live a little. The network is now making licensing deals with produce companies, and its characters will soon endorse fruits and vegetables in addition to the usual sugary cereals, ice cream, and salty snacks.

The lovable, absorbent sponge will appear on bags of Boskovitch Farms spinach, and he will be joined by Dora the Explorer and LazyTown characters on packages of Grimmway Enterprises carrots. A multitude of other Nickelodeon favorites will beckon to kids from bags of LGS Specialty Sales citrus fruits.

This new trend in cartoon health is largely a result of criticism from parents and health experts, who are increasingly concerned about the relationship between television and childhood obesity. Even when kids' shows encourage a healthy lifestyle, the advertisements paired with the programs often hawk fatty, sugar-and-salt-laden foods.

The reasons for this are often financial--organic and produce companies are generally much smaller than the corporations that produce unhealthy snacks, and they have advertising budgets that are quite a bit punier. Nickelodeon executive Sherice Torres admits that the new agreements are "a bit of a departure from our standard licensing deals," but declined to reveal just how much less money the produce companies can offer.

Nickelodeon expects to continue making healthy-foods licensing agreements, and also plans to work with its current licensing partners to give a health makeover to the formulas of existing SpongeBob products.

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  • crystalopal Apr 11, 2009

    Did this ever actually happen?

  • ha0_0 Feb 03, 2008

    I love spongebob too :)

  • Water78 Sep 20, 2006

    interesting

  • hoffman9102 Feb 17, 2006

    I just asked sponge bob what I should feed my kids for dinner, and he ignored me, thanx u guys, with all yer hatin...now who will I turn to ?? Yall hurt his spongy lil feelings, so now I hafta hope that Ed, EDD, & EDDY will kick down a few recipes...

  • hoffman9102 Feb 17, 2006

    Nice concept, I hope that it helps to persuade the younguns to eat their greens, especially mine. If the stars they love are gracing the covers, maybe it will make it "fun", or something.

  • sonicfeet123 Feb 06, 2006

    now that's bad news.

  • SpongeSebastian Jul 30, 2005

    Now what the heck are they gonna do now? Are they gonna make an episode where Mr. Krabs fires SpongeBob and SpongeBob starts selling vegetables? This is nuts! If this keeps going on SpongeBob will turn into LazyTown! :evil:

  • diana123dg Jul 22, 2005

    I do not blame sbongebob like hello you adults are like buying the food.

  • diana123dg Jul 22, 2005

    I love sbongebob!

  • stefine Jul 22, 2005

    I think spongebob is cool because he is my favorite charcter!




    p.s. Thanksā˜»

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