Disney Makes Strong Statement on Healthy Eating
> 10/16/2006 2:12:37 PM

The AP reports today that Disney has taken a bold stand against foods containing trans fat and other unhealthy options. By the end of 2007, there will be no trans fat served in Disney's parks, and that by 2008 the company will not license or promote any product containing trans fats. The move reverberated with last year's dissolution of Disney's 10-year exclusivity deal with McDonalds that saw the media company's products heavily promoted by Happy Meals aimed at kids.

According to the AP, Disney worked with doctors to develop guidelines that would inform their decisions regarding promotions in the future. They will aim to:
  • Place a cap on total calories, which will result in smaller portion for children.
  • Limit fat to a maximum of 30 percent of calories for entrees and side dishes, and 35 percent for snacks.
  • Cap saturated fat at 10 percent of calories for main dishes, side dishes and snacks.
  • Limit sugar to 10 percent of calories for main dishes and side dishes, and 25 percent of calories for snacks.
There has been no small amount of attention paid to the quality of food that is advertised directly to children. There has even been discussion of possible legislation that would make it illegal to push unhealthy foods on programs meant for children. What we are seeing here though is an excellent example of a corporation taking some responsibility. That it will help their public image and hopefully make parents more willing to shell out bucks for Disney products, should go without saying.

Many companies have been moving to reduce or cut the use of trans fats in their products, but Disney's announcement is doubly important for the reverberations that it will have throughout the food industry. If Disney, one of the most powerful brands especially among children, won't do business with companies that make unhealthy products, it should force many of these companies to rethink their own behaviors. This is an important step toward getting our obesity problem under control. It's not the be-all, end-all, but Disney's progressive move should be more than just a drop in the bucket.

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