Disney to ban junk food ads

Disney is to ban junk food adverts on its children’s TV networks as part of a new set of guidelines intended to help kids lead healthier lifestyles.

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Under the new guidelines, all food and drink advertised, sponsored, or promoted on the Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney, and Disney-owned online sites will have to meet “new standards”.

Specifics of the new standards were not fully detailed but the media owner hopes to encourage children and families to eat more fruit and vegetables and limit the calories, saturated fat, salt and sugar consumed.

Disney claims to be the first major media company to introduce these rules for food advertising on programming targeting kids and families.

It will also launch a ‘Mickey Check’ logo that will appear on packaging on Disney branded food ranges in stores, restaurants at its theme parks and hotels and recipes on its online sites to help parents identify healthier food products.

Disney will also reduce the salt in kids’ meals and introduce “well-balanced” kids’ breakfast meals at its hotels and theme parks.

Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, says: “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. The emotional connection kids have to our characters and stories gives us a unique opportunity to continue to inspire and encourage them to lead healthier lives.”

Disney first published nutrition guidelines for advertisers in 2006 in a bid to encourage healthier lifestyles.

The global initiative will first be introduced in the US, but will roll out globally by 2015.

It is supported by US First Lady Michelle Obama, who campaigns against childhood obesity. She says: “This new initiative is truly a game changer for the health of our children. This is a major American company – a global brand – that is literally changing the way it does business so that our kids can lead healthier lives. 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. 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?

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