Disney announced that it will no longer accept advertising from junk food during its programming.
That would make it the first major media company to ban such ads for its TV channels, radio stations and Web sites intended for children.
First lady Michelle Obama called the announcement a “game changer.”
“With this new initiative, Disney is doing what no major media company has ever done before in the U.S. — and what I hope every company will do going forward,” Obama said in a statement.
The announcement comes after President Barack Obama in a 2009 speech to the American Medical Association blamed video games for contributing to skyrocketing U.S. obesity. "It means going for a run or hitting the gym, and raising our children to step away from the video games and spend more time playing outside," Obama said then.
Last month, the first lady said she was "thrilled" as she joined Wal-Mart executives to announce that the grocery chain will reduce sugar, sodium and trans fats in thousands of its products. The month before that, she persuaded Congress to pass a $4.5 billion child nutrition bill.
At the signing ceremony, the president credited his wife with giving the bill the urgency it needed to become a law.
"Had I not been able to get this passed," President Obama said, "I would be sleeping on the couch."
The Obama administration set forth new dietary guidelines Monday that encourage people to consume less and eat better, and especially to lay off salt. The Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services are required by law to update the federal dietary guidelines, and the new recommendations are aimed at fighting the nation’s obesity epidemic. The rules dictate what children eat at school, what people on Food Stamps are encouraged to buy, and what information is highlighted on food packages.
On Thursday, Michelle Obama unveiled a new diagram for healthy eating, replacing the old food pyramid with a plate divided into basic food groups. The new design, called MyPlate, is divided into four sections, for fruit, vegetables, grains, and protein, with a smaller circle next to it for dairy. The plate was created by the Department of Agriculture with help from Michelle Obama's anti-obesity team, and will play a role in the department's upcoming healthy-eating campaign over the next year.
The government’s attempt to reduce childhood obesity is moving from the school cafeteria to the vending machines.
The Obama administration is working on setting nutritional standards for foods that children can buy outside the cafeteria. With students eating 19 percent to 50 percent of their daily food at school, the administration says it wants to ensure that what they eat contributes to good health and smaller waistlines. The proposed rules are expected within the next few weeks.
The rules are the first changes in 15 years to the $11 billion school lunch program. They will double the amount of fruits and vegetables children are served in school and will require that all grains served are whole grains.
All milk served must be low fat, and for the first time the rules set limits on levels of salt and trans fats. They also set a minimum and maximum calorie intake per day based on student age.
The government estimates that the rules will add about $3.2 billion in costs to the program, about half the cost of the proposed rules that were blocked last year.
Thousands more children would eat lunches and dinners at school and all school food would become more nutritious under a bill President Barack Obama signed into law Monday, part of an administration-wide effort to combat childhood obesity.
"At a very basic level, this act is about doing what's right for our children," Obama said before signing the bill. The ceremony was moved from the White House, where most signings are held, to an elementary school in the District of Columbia to underscore the point.
Besides Obama, the bill also was a priority for his wife, Michelle, who launched a national campaign this year against childhood obesity.
"Let's Move" includes the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which will invest $400 million annually to bring grocery stores to "underserved" areas and offer incentives for neighborhood convenience (or "corner") stores to carry healthier food options.
At the launch of the initiative, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum creating the first-ever Task Force on Childhood Obesity to conduct a review of every single programs and policies relating to child nutrition and physical activity and develop a national action plan to maximize federal resources and set concrete benchmarks toward the First Lady’s national goal.