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Muppets to Battle Obesity

Sesame Street producer Sesame Workshop Thursday will announce a public-service initiative to combat childhood obesity.

Scheduled to join Workshop President and CEO Gary Knell for the Cpaitol Hill announcement are Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Senator Ron Wyden as well as Sesame Street cast members Elmo and Rosita.

The Senate Commerce Committee, of which Wyden is a member, held hearings on childhood obesity and advertising back in March. The issue has been in the news in part because of a Kaiser study on childhood obesity and a call by the American Psychological Association for restrictions on food ads.

During the March Commerce hearing, Surgeon General Richard Carmona warned that without big changes in eating habits and exercise, today's kids might be America's first  generation with a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
"There’s still time to reverse this dangerous trend in our children’s lives," Carmona told a Senate panel. Carmona said TV plays a role in poor eating habits and lack of exercise that is making kids fat. "The average child spends four hours a day in front of some type of screen," he said.
In a separate announcement Wednesday, three other Senators called for a NIH study on the effects of  "screen time"--TV, computer, video games--on children's health.--BIll McConnell contributed to this report.