The Walt Disney Co. announced yesterday that it will ban some junk food ads on its television channels, radio stations and websites aimed at children by 2015, Reuters reports. Disney also is starting its own “Mickey Check” label for food it deems to be nutritious, to help promote certain healthier foods in grocery stores and other retailers.

The new guidelines set limits on the number of calories and the amount of fat and sugar in main and side dishes and snacks. For example, Kraft Foods Inc.'s Oscar Mayer Lunchables and Capri Sun products would not make the cut, Disney said.

The move was lauded by First Lady Michelle Obama and other health advocates for putting the might of the $41 billion company behind fighting obesity in kids and teens, which Mrs. Obama has made her personal campaign.

Disney, which owns the ABC TV network and a bunch of cable channels, introduced voluntary guidelines in 2006 that prohibited licensing of Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters for foods that do not meet minimum nutritional requirements.

The company's new effort will bar advertising for foods that fail to meet minimum nutrition requirements during children's programming on its networks, including ABC and Disney XD, and its child-focused websites.

“This puts Disney ahead of the pack of media outlets and should be a wake-up call to Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network to do the same,” Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, told Reuters.

Disney's new guidelines include these maximum allowable limits for foods per serving:

  • Breakfast cereal (1 ounce by weight): 130 calories, 10 grams of sugar, 200 milligrams of sodium.
  • Snacks (1 ounce or 30 grams): 150 calories, 6.25 grams of sugar per 100 calories, 220 milligrams of sodium.
  • Juice (8 ounces): 140 calories, no added sugar, no added sodium.
  • Yogurt (4 ounces): 120 calories, 15 grams of sugar.
  • Complete meal: 600 calories, 2.5 grams of sugar per 100 calories, 740 milligrams of sodium.

Now if we could only get them to ban princesses.

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