Salud Integral (SI) Colombia

An “edutainment” approach to promoting the health and well-being of children ages 0 to 6.
Salud Integral (SI) Colombia uses an “edutainment” approach with the aim of contributing to the worldwide goal of encouraging healthy living and preventing premature deaths and disability due to chronic diseases by promoting a core set of messages, skills, and habits that translate into its research, outreach, production, and advocacy activities. Four areas make up this core: balanced nutrition, physical activity, heart, and body awareness and social-emotional development. The initiative reaches out to children ages 0 to 6 and their primary caretakers for the early promotion of healthy habits.

Communication Strategies: 
In response to the need for health education, Sesame Workshop, Mount Sinai Heart Institute, and Fundación Cardioinfantil have partnered with local government, civil society, and private sector groups to promote cardiovascular health and well-being in Colombia. SI Colombia uses a variety of communication strategies to support positive behaviour by empowering children, their caregivers, and teachers with knowledge, attitudes, and habits towards healthy nutrition, improved physical activity, and social and emotional awareness. The project fosters a playful learning environment through evidence-based educational interventions that feature the Muppets from Plaza Sésamo (the Latin American co-production of Sesame Street) touting the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables – amongst other health-related messages. The project includes four main components:

1. Research aimed at creating evidence-based models of health promotion during early childhood for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

2. Use of television and other media as vehicles for disseminating and bolstering the project’s messages. Locally produced animations, documentary-style shorts, and Muppet segments are specifically created for the SI Colombia project and broadcasted nationally and throughout Latin America on Plaza Sésamo.

3.Community outreach: identification of collaboration partners to expand the distribution and develop different models of implementation including training for teachers and caregivers and the provision of a kit of classroom- and home-based educational materials.

4. Advocacy and awareness raising on the risks of CVD and strategies for early prevention in order to contribute to social and policy change.

Development Issues: 
Children, Health.

Key Points: According to organisers, 51.2% of the Colombian population is overweight. In Colombia, CVD claims more lives than violence, hunger, and communicable diseases combined. CVD was once thought to be a disease of old age, but increasing evidence suggests that it has its origins in childhood and that lifestyle choices and practices play a key role.

Valentin Fuster, M.D., Ph.D., who spearheaded this initiative, explains: “Children between the ages of three and eight are especially receptive to learning lifelong heart-healthy habits. In Bogota, Colombia, we have teamed up with Sesame Workshop to create culturally specific Muppet segments that focus on nutrition, fitness, and health education. After only one year, children involved demonstrated increased awareness of health-promoting behaviors.”

Click here to read more about Sesame Workshop’s health education initiatives.

Partner Text: 
Mount Sinai Heart, Sesame Workshop, Fundación Cardioinfantil.

Contact Information: 
Jorge Baxter – Sesame Workshop

Related Summaries: 
Plaza Sesamo

Source: Emails from Jenna Cambria to The Communication Initiative on June 4 2012 and June 14 2012. “Sesame Street” excerpts provided courtesy of Sesame Workshop (New York, New York) © 2012 Sesame Workshop. “Sesame Street” ® and associated characters, trademarks, and design elements are owned and licensed by Sesame Workshop. All Rights Reserved.

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