Disney castleMichelle Obama joined Disney executives today to announce an unprecedented move in the battle against childhood obesity. The media company will eliminate the advertising of unhealthy food and beverages from all of its Disney channels, the first major media company to introduce standards for food advertising on shows targeting kids and families.

Mrs. Obama called it a “game changer” that would give parents more leverage as they campaign to bring healthier foods into their kids’ diets. She reasoned that if kids aren’t bombarded with ads while watching their favorite cartoons, they would be less likely to lobby parents to shop for sugary groceries.

Under the new Disney nutrition standards, breakfast cereals will have to contain fewer than 10 grams of sugar per serving if they want to advertise on a Disney property.

“With this new initiative, Disney is asking themselves one simple question,” said the First Lady. “‘Is this good for our kids?”‘

In addition to its new advertising standards, Disney today introduced the “Mickey Check” a tool that identifies nutritious choices on menu items sold at Disney resorts in the US.  By the end of 2012 the “Mickey Check” will appear on licensed foods products, on qualified recipes on Disney.com and Family.com, and on menus and select products at Disney’s Parks and Resorts.

In 2006, Disney pioneered more well-balanced kids’ meals served at its resorts. They automatically included nutritious sides and beverages such as carrots and low-fat milk, unless parents opt out.  Of the more than 12 million kids’ meals served last year at Disney Parks and Resorts in the U.S., parents stuck with the healthier options 6 out of 10 times.  The company also stopped using toys in kids meals to advertise its movies, said CEO Bob Iger.

Disney will also enhance that effort by further reducing sodium in kids’ meals and introducing new well-balanced breakfast meals.

One news report said Capri Sun drinks and “Lunchables” will not make the cut with their current ingredients.

(READ the AP story via CBS for more info on corporate efforts underway that encourage healthier diets for kids)


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