Media giant Walt Disney to ban junk food ads

Mickey Mouse and a chef prepare food in Washington. Photo: 5 June 2012 Disney's move is part of a growing campaign to fight child obesity in America

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US media giant Walt Disney has said it will ban junk food ads on its TV, radio and online programmes.

The firm, which also runs famous theme parks, said it was setting new nutrition standards to tackle America's growing problem of child obesity.

US First Lady Michelle Obama described the initiative as a "game changer".

However, the new rules will not come into effect until 2015, and much will depend on how Disney defines junk food, correspondents say.

Makers of junk food and sugary drinks spend about $1bn (£650m) a year on commercials directed at children under 12 years.


Disney said that any cereals with 10 grams or more of sugar per serving or a full meal with more than 600 calories would not be advertised.

Sugary drinks and high sodium products would also be off the air, the company said.

Michelle Obama said Disney was changing its business model to tackle obesity

CEO Bob Iger acknowledged there might be a short-term dip in advertising revenue, but added that the company would adjust and create new products that meet standards.

Mrs Obama, an active campaigner to curb child obesity, welcomed the plan.

"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 favourite cartoons on a major TV network, we wouldn't have believed you," she was quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

Recent studies have shown that almost a third of America's children are overweight or obese.

Inevitably, there is scepticism about Disney's move, the BBC's Paul Adams in Washington reports.

Still, it is all part of a growing campaign to fight obesity, our correspondent adds.

Last week, in the first move of its kind by an American city, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a ban sales of super-sized sugary drinks in restaurants, delis, cinemas and sports arenas.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    Many years ago, when I worked for a large US company, they had a policy what was called 'Corporate responsibility' As an employee I was proud that the company carried out numerous community projects and really put something back. Unfortunately in the UK today many small, medium and large businesses don't appear to have any responsibility, its just pure profit that motivates them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    The real problem is the companies who produce junk food and who spend millions of dollars promoting and defending their junk food. If those millions were spent producing healthy, economical food, there would be no childhood obesity. And no need for Disney to ban junk food nor for Michelle Obama to fight childhood obesity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    For once I don't feel at all cynical. This is a pretty amazing move, and very well done indeed to Disney. Now all they need to do is stop tying in their latest movie with a McDonald's promotion! Let's see if they go that far...:)

  • rate this

    Comment number 228.

    junk food tastes good and having been to disney land loads of times, its mainly hot dogs burgers etc, who cares ? you are on holiday !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 226.

    New rules will not come into effect until 2015; that's a long way away.
    Much will depend on how Disney defines junk food, correspondents say. Why is this being left to Disney?
    If it's junk, and Disney has committed to ban junk food ads, the ads should be vetted by an independent organization before continued utilization or implementation.


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