Disney has provided map to fight childhood obesity, will other media companies follow?

I would like to  give a standing ovation to The Walt Disney Co. for an extraordinary performance.  I wish they could see my elation at this very moment!   It makes my heart smile to know that they have become the first major media company to actually prohibit junk food ads on their websites, radio stations and TV channels.  That means that our nation’s youth won’t be viewing those morning television cartoons that include commercial breaks which advertise sugary cereal, candy or fast food!   My feelings can be summed up in one word … “YAY!”

I agree with first lady Michelle Obama when she calls this a game changer, one that she feels is going to effect others in the children’s entertainment industry.   With Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, her priority is to encourage America’s youth to become healthier. This includes everything from gardening to getting outside and becoming more physically active.

Disney’s announcement really surprised me since I have always assumed that no major media company would ever take this enormous step towards the prevention of childhood obesity.  I think their announcement surprised the first lady too, which is evidenced by her saying, “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.”

From what I’ve learned, if food doesn’t meet Disney’s nutritional standards then it simply won’t be advertised.  This isn’t just for fast-food items or candy, it’s also for beverages that contain too much sugar or those popular pre-packed meet/cheese/cracker trays that are found in countless brown-bag school lunches sent by well-meaning parents who may have no idea how much sodium these contain. If a serving of any cereal contains 10 grams or more of sugar, you won’t be seeing it on your television set.  In fact, you will not be viewing anything that makes up a meal of more than 600 calories.

My only problem with this is that these changes won’t take effect until our nation’s youth have celebrated three additional birthdays.  That’s right, their changes won’t begin until 2015 but as they say, better late than never, right?

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, effecting 17 percent of all children and teenagers in the United States. Our kids, our little ones who are only in elementary school are showing the first signs of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. So any news like this that I hear regarding obesity prevention is music to my ears!

Childhood obesity is a problem throughout America, yet our school cafeterias are still packed with hot dogs, pepperoni pizza and sausage biscuits.  Don’t’ even get me started about what is offered in the countless vending machines found in schools or the food items that are promoted and sold for fund raisers. Candy bars and cookie dough may bring in the funds, but what are these items doing to our kids?

Disney’s recent announcement will hopefully lead to fewer kids begging for those popular unhealthy lunch items, breakfast cereals and trips to fast-food joints. It’s a huge step in the right direction!   I will continue to pray that every major media company makes the decision to follow the same route that Disney has chosen.  There may be a few detours and a mountain or two to climb on their route, but Disney has set their destination point: better health for our nation’s youth!

What is your opinion of this announcement?

Photo credit riekhavoc (caught up?)

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