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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April 2005, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Cookie Monster curbs cookie habit
Hoots the Owl, Cookie Monster and friends in Sesame Street
Hoots the Owl (left) explains the benefits of fruit to Cookie Monster
Cookie Monster, the biscuit-eating puppet on US children's show Sesame Street, will cut down on his favourite food as part of an anti-obesity drive.

The blue-furred muppet who used to sing "C is for Cookie" will now tell viewers that "A Cookie is a Sometimes Food".

Each episode of the show's new series will begin with a "health tip" about healthy foods and physical activity.

A Sesame Street representative said the popular character would be "broadening his eating habits" in future.

Talking vegetables

"We are not putting him on a diet, and we would never take the position of no sugar," said Dr Rosemarie T Truglio, the show's vice president of research and education. "We're teaching him moderation."

New characters such as talking aubergines and carrots will be introduced, while guests stars such as soul singer Alicia Keys will talk about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Almost one in three children in the US is now overweight, as opposed to one in 25 in the UK.

Sesame Street begins its 36th season on America's PBS network on Monday. It is broadcast in over 120 countries, with more than 20 local versions being made.

Last year Cookie Monster - originally played by Muppets regular Frank Oz, the voice of Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear - revealed that before eating his first cookie his name was Sid.

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