“Listos a Jugar” Preventive Health Program Expansion- Latin America 2019-2022
Sesame Workshop and Mount Sinai Valentín Fuster Foundation 

This program expansion aims to deliver scalable, flexible, and cost-effective models of health promotion in early childhood while ensuring quality and impact. Future phases would include expansion of the model to other regions of the globe.

A long-term collaboration between Sesame and Mount Sinai Valentín Fuster Foundation

For more than a decade Sesame has collaborated with Dr. Valentín Fuster to promote cardiovascular health and well-being by educating children to lead healthier lifestyles in Colombia, Spain and Harlem. Jointly, a muppet was created (Dr. Ruster) as well as media and outreach materials.  Over this period of time Dr. Fuster’s team has conducted rigorous research on the long-term benefits of using Sesame Street materials in preschool health promotion interventions has during the preschool years.

Listos a Jugar

Building on this initial work, Sesame’s Listos a Jugar program launched 3 years ago as a regional response to the high incidence of obesity and diabetes in children in Latin America. The program has reached over 11 million people largely through mass media distribution. Initially funded by public and private partners[1], included a 26-episode television series, digital assets including an app and a website, and resources for caregivers and educators.  Since then, it has been distributed in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and other Central American countries. In 2019 Sesame secured additional funding to expand reach through school-based interventions and self-adoption by strategic partners & individuals across the region.

Read more

Listos a Jugar expansion

The renewal of this collaboration will focus on updating and expanding the program based on research findings from Mount Sinai Valentín Fuster Foundation. The expansion will be comprised of 5 components.

Expansion components

  1. Extend mass media reach and launch specific healthy lifestyles campaigns

Leverage existing and develop new engaging content to promote healthy lifestyles to be distributed through our mass media channels. Specific objectives include:

  • Repackaging of Listos a Jugar series into shorter theme-focused episodes for distribution through various platforms
  • Produce new content to cover existing gaps in themes and bolster outreach
  1. Deepen engagement in school and community center-based interventions

Refine the school-based intervention model based on scientific evidence and lessons learned from previous phases.[1] Specific objectives include:

  • Updated multimedia community engagement content
  • Pilots implemented in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico
  • Longitudinal data collection and indicator-tracking for practitioners and participants
  1. Build health care system outreach

Customize a content package with context specific delivery mechanisms to be used in health clinics and other formal and community health settings.  Build on Dr.  Ruster’s appeal to medical practitioners to facilitate engagement with younger children and their families.  Specific objectives include:

  • Qualitative research to understand the needs of medical practitioners
  • Multimedia resources for use in medical facilities by health service providers
  • Pilot implementation in Colombia
  1. Expand and deepen self-adoption outreach (B2C)

Develop a content-distribution digital platform to facilitate access to program resources by practitioners in a variety of settings as well as straight to family. Specific objectives include:

  • Facilitate the tailoring and integration of the program into new institutional settings
  • Online learning platform featuring child, parent and partner facing content
  1. Continue research in new communities to further validate the approach for broader adoption

Mount Sinai Valentín Fuster Foundation will conduct an interventional study in New York City using an evidence-based 4-month health promotion curriculum in public schools from different socioeconomic status in the 5 boroughs, enrolling 2,500 children between 4 and 5 years of age with an average follow-up of 30 months.

 Expansion Outcomes

  • Reach and promote broad awareness around the importance of healthy habits in 15 million people in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico
  • Demonstrate changes in health-related attitudes, knowledge and behaviors in children in the region through school and community-based interventions
  • Develop and refine a scalable model of health promotion for cardiovascular diseases in Latin America that maintains minimum levels of quality and impact for millions of adopters
  • Validate approach for expansion to other regions of the world

In this phase Mount Sinai will conduct a prospective interventional study using an evidence-based 4-month health promotion curriculum in public schools from different socioeconomic status in the 5 boroughs of NYC, enrolling 2,500 children between 4 and 5 years of age with an average follow-up of 30 months. Sesame will provide materials and input on content. This program is contingent on securing larger grant from the NIH.


  1. FEMSA Foundation, Carlos Slim Foundation, UNICEF, Ministry of Health (Mexico), Canal Once and TV Ecuador and Sesame Workshop.