Disney to ban junk food ads
The Walt Disney Co. has taken a new initiative to ban junk-food advertising on in all form of its media platform including television channels, radio stations and websites, hoping to stop kids from the temptation of eating junk food badly.
First Lady Michelle Obama called this initiative as a "game changer" which will set an example for the entire children?s entertainment industry to do the same.
"Just a few years ago if you had told me or any other mom or dad in America that our kids wouldn't see a single ad for junk food while they watched their favorite cartoons on a major TV network, we wouldn't have believed you," Stuff.co.nz quoted Michelle Obama, who has headed a campaign to curb child obesity, as saying.
The food that doesn't fulfil the criteria of Disney's nutritional standards will be considered beyond candy bars and fast food meals. Advertisements of Capri Sun juice (too much sugar) and Oscar Mayer Lunchables snacks (high sodium) will also be stopped. Any type of cereal containing more than 10 grams of sugar per serving will also fall in this category. A full meal can't be more than 600 calories.
Walt Disney's new rules - which won't come to effcet until 2015 - follow a controversial proposal in New York to take supersized drinks over 16 ounces (473ml) out of convenience stores, movie theatres and restaurants, in order to remove choices to try and influence behaviour.
Getting rid of junk food ads will make it easier to keep the family on a healthy diet, said Nadine Haskell, a mother of two sons, 8 and 11.
"If they see a commercial on TV, then the next time we go to the grocery store they'll see it and say they want to try it," Haskell, of Columbus, Ohio, said.
However, Disney declined to comment on the amount of revenue it will lose from banning unhealthy food?s advertisement.
CEO Bob Iger said that though there might be a reduction in advertising revenue for a short-term, but he wish that companies would ultimately adjust and create alternative products meeting the standards.
The ban will be applicable to TV channels such is Disney XD, children's programming on the ABC network, Radio Disney and Disney-owned websites that are aimed at families with young children. The company's Disney Channel has sponsorships, but does not run advertisements.
Aviva Must, chairwoman of the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Tufts School of Medicine, said Disney could succeed where the government has made little progress.
"There seems to be limited taste for government regulation," Must, who has studied childhood obesity for decades, said.
"So I think a large company like Disney taking a stand and putting in a policy with teeth is a good step," she said.
Though, many fast-food chains and food companies are turning out for healthier options like apples and salads these days but even though, Disney said it would still deny the companies' ads.
Leslie Goodman, Disney's senior vice president of corporate citizenship, says Disney will take into consideration for the broader offerings of a company while deciding whether to approve ads.
"It's not just about reformulating a meal for a single advertising opportunity," Goodman said.
The company will need to justify that if it is offering a range of healthy options, she said.
Kraft said it welcomed the decision of Disney, noting that it advertises very few brands to children under age 12.
Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director at the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, said that while some snack foods having limited amount of nutritional value could still be advertised, the worst of the junk foods would be completely eliminated under the new policy.
"Disney's announcement really puts a lot of pressure on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network and other media to do the same," she added.
Disney launched internal nutrition guidelines in 2006, with an objective to make 85 percent of the food and drinks available at its parks and resorts to be healthy. However, the remaining 15 per cent was reserved for special occasion?s treats, such as cake for birthday celebrations. The company has also stopped using toys in kid's meals to advertise its movies.
Disney on Tuesday also introduced its "Mickey Check" seal of approval for
nutritious foods sold in stores, online and at its parks and resorts.
"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," Iger said.
The Better Business Bureau and 16 major food companies, including Coca-Cola Co, Burger King Worldwide Holdings Inc and Mars Inc have also pledged to join this initiative by 2014 that advertisements aimed at children is devoted only to better-for-you foods.
-With inputs from ANI
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