The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday announced plans to introduce new, healthy standards for food advertising in programming targeted toward children and families. The standards, which apply to all Disney-owned properties, are designed to promote daily consumption of fruit and vegetables and restrict foods high in calories, fat and sodium.
Disney’s decision was met with praise from First Lady Michelle Obama. “With this new initiative, Disney is doing what no major media company has ever done before in the U.S. -- and what I hope every company will do going forward," she said in a statement to Disney. "When it comes to the ads they show and the food they sell, they are asking themselves one simple question: ‘Is this good for our kids?’”
Assistant chef and senior policy advisor for healthy initiatives Sam Kass agreed, “this is a big big deal… the private sector and companies are really taking the lead” and “helping families make the best decision for kids particularly through marketing.”
The nutrition standards are aligned with federal nutrition guidelines and will be fully enacted by 2015. Disney established its first set of nutrition guidelines in 2006 and later used its popular show characters to educate kids about nutrition and living an engaged healthy lifestyle.
“We’re proud of the impact we’ve had over the last six years,” Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said in a press release. “We’ve taken steps across our company to support better choices for families, and now we’re taking the next important step forward by setting new food advertising standards for kids.” Disney is the parent company of ABC.
In addition to the advertising commitment, the new initiative includes a Mickey Check Tool, which will highlight all nutritious foods sold in stores, online and at restaurants in Disney's U.S. Parks and Resorts.
“Making healthy eating and physical activity fun is central to creating healthier generations to come,” Dr. James O. Hill, who worked with Disney to develop its nutrition guidelines and who is executive director of the Anschutz Health & Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, said in a recent press release. “Disney is using ‘magic’ –- fun and creativity –- to encourage kids and families to make positive changes, and it is working.”
Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass elaborates above.