Published October 21, 2005
NEW YORK – Bill Clinton is teaming with SpongeBob SquarePants (search) and Dora the Explorer (search) in a campaign to nudge kids to eat healthy foods and to get up off the couch and move, the former president and Nickelodeon (search) television executives announced Thursday.
"The idea that health decisions you make as kids could stop you from living your dream is heartbreaking to us," said Clinton, who will appear in public service announcements and in a town hall forum devoted to childhood obesity.
Clinton, who underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery in September 2004 and a follow-up procedure in March, was joined by Nickelodeon Networks President Herb Scannell, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and American Heart Association President Robert Eckel.
At a news conference announcing the effort at the Young Women's Leadership School in East Harlem, Scannell said Nickelodeon and its affiliates would commit about $30 million worth of air time a year to the campaign as well as promoting it on Web sites, theme parks and live stage shows.
The network already broadcasts PSAs that promote exercise and healthy eating and has licensed its characters including SpongeBob and Dora to appear on bags of baby carrots and other vegetables.
The town hall forum with Clinton, moderated by newswoman Linda Ellerbee, is scheduled to air Nov. 13 on Nickelodeon.