(BUSINESS WIRE)--Atlanta’s Center for Puppetry Arts today unveiled “Little Noodle,” a brand-new puppet created to teach children and their families the importance of health eating and exercise. “Little Noodle,” funded by a $50,000 grant from Aetna (NYSE: AET) and the Aetna Foundation, will be featured in a puppet show, Adventures of Little Noodle, which made its debut at the center today.
The grant is part of Aetna’s continued efforts to target childhood obesity and diabetes in Atlanta, particularly within the African-American community.
“On behalf of all Georgians, I want to thank Aetna and the Center for Puppetry Arts for working together to improve the physical health of our state’s most precious resource – our children,” Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said. “This show will encourage children to make healthy eating choices and keep an active lifestyle, which will allow them to be better prepared for school and for a lifetime of healthy living.”
“We’re very excited about the creation of ‘Little Noodle,’ and by all the great work done by the Center for Puppetry Arts to help us attack childhood obesity and diabetes in the Atlanta community,” said Cynthia Follmer, president of Aetna’s Georgia market. “Aetna has worked with the Center on a number of wonderful cultural and educational programs over the past several years. They use puppets to reach and inspire children in ways that few other can. We’re thrilled that they’ve agreed to employ those talents to deliver a critically important health message.”
In 2008 Aetna and the Aetna Foundation awarded community grants and sponsorships in Georgia totaling $725,000, with a particular focus on diabetes and related conditions. In the first six months of 2009, they awarded grants totaling more than $350,000 for similar programs. Aetna provides health benefits to more than 600,000 people in Georgia.
Tackling an issue like childhood obesity is no easy task, even for a seasoned puppetry veteran like Jon Ludwig, the Center’s artistic director. “This is a critical issue; we’re dealing with people’s lives,” said Ludwig.
To create Adventures of Little Noodle, Ludwig teamed up with a group of experts to make sure that the Center was promoting the most accurate theories on how to prevent childhood obesity. “Our job is to be a bridge and reinforce the message of the experts by demystifying the problem in an engaging and theatrical setting that kids will remember,” Ludwig said. “This show is really fun nutrition for the soul.”
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