For Immediate Release
Arthur® Cracks Open Peanut Allergies on PBS KIDS GO™!
Millions of kids and their families are affected daily by peanut allergies, even if they, themselves, don’t have one. That’s because food allergies—including allergies to peanuts—are on the rise, leading many schools and day-care centers to adopt peanut restrictions and peanut-free zones, and even to ban peanuts altogether. There is no known cure for these potentially life-threatening allergies, which is why education and awareness are key to keeping children with food allergies safe.
The new Arthur episode, “Binky Goes Nuts,” and its companion educational guide, Binky Goes Nuts: Understanding Peanut Allergies, aim to build an awareness of peanut allergies and give kids the tools they need to help their food-allergic friends. “Binky Goes Nuts” premieres on PBS KIDS GO! Friday, April 8, 2005, and encores Monday, May 9 (check local listings) during national Food Allergy Awareness Week. In this episode, when Binky discovers that he’s allergic to peanuts, he has so many questions: Will he be forced to live without Chinese food? Will he ever again be able to eat with his friends? And most importantly, will his mom ever calm down? Binky learns that the best way not to go nuts is to be well-informed, and to understand his allergy.
“Over the years, I’ve received many requests from kids and adults asking us to tackle the subject of peanut allergies in an Arthur episode,” said Arthur creator and series executive creative producer Marc Brown. “Given that so many of our young fans and their parents deal with food allergies every day, we have a unique opportunity to make a real difference.”
Adds Arthur executive producer, Pierre Valette, “We’re pleased to add ‘Binky Goes Nuts’ to our expanding library of shows that address important issues families face today. And school nurses and educators will find the episode’s companion health curriculum an invaluable addition to our successful Arthur Hooray for Health! campaign.”
Binky Goes Nuts: Understanding Peanut Allergies is the latest unit in the Arthur Hooray for Health! series. Designed for school nurses and educators of children ages 4–8, this free, eight-page guide includes background information, suggested classroom activities, and reproducible activity sheets in English and Spanish for children to share with their families. In it, kids learn simple steps they can take to make school a safe and healthy place for everyone, including those classmates who have peanut or other food allergies. The guide will be available in early April on the ARTHUR Web site (pbskidsgo.org/arthur) in the “Parents & Teachers” section. (Go to “Lesson Plans,” then click on “Hooray for Health.”)
The guide is endorsed by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), a Virginia-based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase awareness, to provide education and advocacy, and to advance research on behalf of those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis. For more information, visit the FAAN Web site at www.foodallergy.org or call (800) 929-4040. FAAN spokesperson, Ming Tsai, of public television’s Simply Ming and Cooking Under Fire*, and himself the father of a food-allergic child, is partnering with Binky to spread food allergy awareness by starring in a series of public service announcements, which will broadcast on select public television stations beginning this spring.
“More than eleven million Americans have food allergies, and approximately three million children under the age of 18 years old (or 1 in 25 American children) have a food allergy,” said Anne Muñoz-Furlong, Founder & CEO of FAAN. “We’re pleased to be working with the producers of Arthur and with Ming Tsai to bring food allergy awareness to our nation’s children. Until there is a cure, education is the key.”
* Simply Ming is a production of WGBH and Ming East-West, LLC, and is distributed by American Public Television. Cooking Under Fire is a co-production of WGBH Lifestyle Productions, Lance Reynolds, and John Rieber.
Arthur —based on Marc Brown’s best-selling books—is one of the most watched children’s television programs, with over ten million weekly viewers ( Source: October and November NTI) . Arthur has won numerous awards, including the George Foster Peabody Award and five Daytime Emmys—three for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program. Arthur is produced by WGBH Boston and Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc. Executive producers are Pierre Valette, Lesley Taylor and Toper Taylor. Marc Brown is executive creative producer. The award-winning Arthur Web site is located at pbskidsgo.org/arthur. Funding for Arthur is provided by a Ready To Learn Television Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education through the Public Broadcasting Service. Corporate funding is provided by Chuck E. Cheese’s® and Rhodes Bake-N-Serv®.
WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup, along with some of public television’s best-known lifestyle shows and children’s programs: ArthurBetween the Lions, Postcards from Buster, and ZOOM. Under the leadership of Vice President Brigid Sullivan, the WGBH children’s lineup leads the field in educational multimedia (including the Web, broadband, and interactive television) and in technologies and services that make media accessible to people with disabilities. WGBH’s current children’s series have been recognized with some of the world’s most prestigious awards, including eleven Emmys, the George Foster Peabody award, three Prix Jeunesse awards, a BAFTA, and more than half a dozen Parents’ Choice awards. For more information, visit wgbh.org
Cookie Jar Entertainment Inc. develops, produces, distributes, and markets quality entertainment to children and their caregivers, parents, and teachers. The company is committed to provide the best in children’s published content, animated and live-action programming, and innovative, educational, and entertainment-driven products worldwide.
All Marc Brown characters and materials (including artwork) copyright by Marc Brown. Arthur, D.W., and the other Marc Brown characters are trademarks of Marc Brown. All third party trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Used with permission. The contents herein were supported under the Ready To Learn Television Program, P/R Award Number R295A00002, as administered by the Office of Innovation and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education. However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.
© 2005 WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved
About Food Allergies
Food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly believes that a harmless substance, in this case a food item, is harmful. In its attempt to protect the body, it creates specific IgE antibodies to that food. The next time the individual eats that food, the immune system releases massive amounts of chemicals and histamines in order to protect the body. These chemicals trigger a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin, or cardiovascular system.
Eight foods account for 90% of all reactions in the United States: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish (lobster, shrimp, etc.). Food-allergic reactions result in over 30,000 emergency room visits each year. It is estimated that between 150 and 200 people die annually from anaphylaxis to food; including children and young adults. There is no cure for food allergy. Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to prevent a reaction.
The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) is a Virginia-based, nonprofit organization representing the 11 million Americans with food allergies. Established in 1991, FAAN’s mission is to increase awareness, to provide education and advocacy, and to advance research on behalf of all those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis. For more information, visit the FAAN Web site at www.foodallergy.org or call (800) 929-4040. To reach a board-certified allergist, contact the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology or the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.