NEW YORK – The well known spud, Mr. Potato Head(R), is gearing up for his first appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade(R) this fall by becoming sporty. Sponsored by the United States Potato Board (USPB), famed potato is taking on the fit role as part of an initiative targeted to educate consumers about the nutritional benefits of the potato and the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Donning sneakers, a baseball cap and carrying a water bottle, the Healthy Mr. Potato Head balloon will soar above Manhattan, smiling and waving his hand to the crowd below. This isn’t the first makeover for the spud though, in 1987 the character gave up his pipe for a healthier lifestyle.

"We're excited to have Mr. Potato Head come to life in a whole new 'healthy' way at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," said Suzanne Schneider, director of marketing for Hasbro, Inc, the company who the character is under license with. "He has been an ambassador of good will for more than 50 years and his trademark positive outlook makes him a wonderful spokespud for the United States Potato Board."

The United States Potato Board is sponsoring the Healthy Mr. Potato Head balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as part of a wider campaign geared toward increasing awareness of the powerful nutrition contained in potatoes.

"One of America's favorite toys is speaking up about his innate nutritious side and becoming Healthy Mr. Potato Head," explains Ray Meiggs, chairman of the USPB and a potato grower from North Carolina. "Potatoes are loaded with vitamin C, potassium and fiber. In keeping with the new USDA food guidance system, he's taking 'steps to a healthier you' and is sure to become a role model for us all."