Really interesting story in today’s Wall Street Journal about Disney’s decision to phase out its promotion of junk food to kids and to eliminate "artery-clogging trans fats from its theme-park menus and its licensed and promotional products."
The WSJ story is subscription only so I’ve taken the liberty of posting the juicy bits (if you get my drift) here.
"As obesity rates among kids soar, food makers and media companies have
come under attack. The Children’s Advertising Review Unit is working on
more-robust self-regulatory guidelines for advertising to children, but
the area is largely unregulated. The Center for Science in the Public
Interest, an advocacy group that has lobbied against marketing to
children, says Disney’s move puts it "head, shoulders and ears" ahead
of rivals like Viacom Inc., whose Nickelodeon "programming is filled with junk-food ads and whose characters grace all kinds of junk-food packaging."
"As part of its new campaign, Disney said it would also promote
more-healthful options for kids in its theme parks and weave messages
that promote exercise and healthy eating into the storylines of its
shows. In Disney Channel’s "Hannah Montana," for instance, one of the
characters grapples with an excessive intake of sweets."
"Disney’s move puts more pressure on McDonald’s and other companies to
remove trans fats from their food. Health officials in New York and
Chicago have proposed that the cities ban the use of trans fat in
restaurants. While McDonald’s has for several years been experimenting
with alternative oils that would reduce the level of trans fat in its
food, executives have said they can’t find a replacement that preserves
the taste of McDonald’s food. Disney says it plans to cut added trans
fats from meals at its U.S. parks by the end of next year and from
promotional products by the end of 2008."
I can see the future now: long weaned from cigarettes, school kids now share illicit burgers and chicken nuggets in the playground.