In an effort to reduce childhood obesity, the Walt Disney Company will limit junk food advertisements on TV programs, radio shows and websites that are aimed at children, according to sources knowledgeable of the plan.
Disney chief executive Bob Iger and First Lady Michelle Obama plan on announcing the details later today in Washington D.C.
Ironic, considering the amount of junk food served at Disney parks like Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
The new cuts will include any advertisements during Disney children's programing on its networks including ABC, Disney XD and websites that do not meet minimum nutrition requirements. The restrictions apply to any programming aimed at children under age 12; this includes cartoons and live-action programs.
The guidelines limit the amount of fat, calories and added sugar to main and side dishes and snacks. They ill restrict product advertisements from Disney sponsors like Capri Sun drinks, Kraft Lunchables meals, and a whole range of candy, sugared cereal, and fast food.
In 2006, Disney introduced voluntary guidelines that forbid the use of Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters to promote foods that fail to meet minimum nutrition standards.
Disney's initiative will cover other areas as well. The company will cut 25 percent of the sodium in the 12 million children's meals that are served annually at its theme parks.
In adopting the new advertising standards, Disney said that it was just following the recommendations of federal regulators who last year proposed the food industry change the way it markets food, particularly cereal, soda and snacks for kids.
The company's nutritional guidelines are based on the federal government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Federal Trade Commission's proposed guidelines for marketing to children.
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Disney will start selling licensed products in grocery stores called Mickey Check, which meet children's nutritional criteria for sodium, saturated fat, calories and sugar. The products will contain a logo that consists of Mickey Mouse ears and a check mark, as well as a slogan that says, "Good For You--Fun Too!"
The new initiative comes only days after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to ban soda and other sugary drinks over 16 ounces. And last year, major U.S. food and drink makers including Kraft, Coca-Cola and Kellogg agreed to voluntarily set minimum nutrition criteria for children.
"With this new initiative, Disney is doing what no other major media company has ever done before in the U.S.--and what I hope every company will do going forward," Michelle Obama said in a statement.