7 June 2012
The Walt Disney Company has said it will be the first major media company to ban advertisements for certain foods. The company, which runs TV and radio stations, as well as its famous theme parks, says it is setting new standards in an effort to tackle the country's growing problem of childhood obesity.
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It has become commonplace to report that America is in the midst of an epidemic of obesity. Recent studies have shown that almost a third of the country's children are overweight or obese.
Part of the problem is advertising. Manufacturers of junk food and sugary drinks spend around a billion dollars a year on commercials directed at children under twelve years old. The Walt Disney Company says it will no longer be a part of this. Under new rules, its TV and radio channels, as well as its websites, will have to abide by new standards.
Inevitably, there is scepticism about Disney's move. The new rules won't come into effect for another three years and much will depend on how Disney actually defines junk food.
But it's all part of a growing campaign to fight obesity. Last week, in the first move of its kind by an American city, the Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, proposed a ban on the sale of sugary drinks over 480 millilitres in size at restaurants, food trucks, cinemas and sports arenas. It's a controversial step - one poll over the weekend found that 53% of New Yorkers think it's a bad idea.
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- in the midst of
in the process of, in the middle of, surrounded by
outbreak, something that spreads quickly and widely
- junk food
food that tastes good but has very high amount of calories
- to abide by
to keep, to follow, to accept (something)
states the meaning of
survey of public opinion