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Disney Announces Stricter Nutrition Guidelines

June 8, 2012

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Photo Credit: Disney Parks & Resorts

The Walt Disney Co. announced plans this week to drop advertisers from their children's programming whose food and beverage products do not meet stricter nutritional guidelines by 2015. The guidelines call for lower calories, portion size, sugar, sodium, and saturated fat content. In conjunction, the company reported plans to add health-conscious options to menus throughout their theme parks and resorts.

Disney’s decision is largely in response to last year’s federal guidelines from the childhood obesity task force, which aimed to reduce the marketing of unhealthy food products to children, as well as encouraging parents and educators to get involved in improving children’s health.

Falling on the heels of Mayor Bloomberg’s highly publicized “soda ban”, this announcement makes Disney the first major media company to put pressure on food and beverage companies in regards to products and advertising aimed at children.

Bob Iger, the company’s CEO, appeared with Michelle Obama, who endorsed the initiative as a “game changer” for private industry. Disney’s involvement is a major coup for the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, adding to the its’ already considerable achievements which include increasing the availability of healthy food options in schools and businesses, as well as encouraging fitness in daily life.

At Integrative Nutrition, we look to Disney and Michelle Obama’s work as steps in the right direction. We also recognize that more needs to be done by all of us - parents, educators, policy-makers, and business-owners - to address the growing issue of childhood obesity.

What role do you think the private sector should play in placing pressure on food and beverage companies?