Last week, the Walt Disney Company made a major announcement that the park would be implementing strict guidelines regarding the promotion of junk foods throughout the organization’s many channels along with major changes to menu items sold in its theme parks to help combat the nation’s rising obesity problems. Currently, 1 in 5 American children ages 2-19 are clinically obese, and 1 in 3 adult Americans are also obese.
Healthy-eating champion, First Lady Michelle Obama, who was on hand at the news conference in Washington, supported the company’s announcement and radical changes, which include an outright ban of all food and beverage advertisements on the Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney and Disney-owned websites intended for children ages 12 and under that do not fit certain nutritional criteria by 2015; a 25 percent sodium reduction in all children’s meals served in Disney theme parks; an overall increase in the fruit and vegetable options sold in theme parks by 2013; the creation of public service announcements focused on the benefits of exercise and healthy eating; and the use of Mickey Mouse Check on healthy food products that meet criteria with limited calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar effective this year.
The move is not Disney’s first; in 2010 it launched Disney Magic of Healthy Living initiative, which was an extension of a 2006 campaign. In 2010 the company shut the doors on a McDonald’s location in Orlando’s Downtown Disney and replaced it instead with a vegan, gluten-free bakery.
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