Tuesday, February 9, 2010

First Lady Partners with Disney Channel to Stop Childhood Obesity

The major news story of today (other than the snowstorm hitting D.C.) is First Lady Michelle Obama's announcement of her initiative to end childhood obesity. She's come under fire in recent days for speaking about diet and exercise concerns raised by the family's pediatrician with many saying she divulged too much about First Tweens Malia and Sasha Obama's health and body image issues. Regardless of your views on how Mrs. Obama handled her personal account with the subject, the topic of childhood obesity concerns every parent of a tween.

Mrs. Obama has found a powerful media partner to promote her issue: Disney announced today that they will develop a program in collaboration with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign, which is about creating a a healthier generation.
Disney will create a series of public service announcements (PSAs) featuring the First Lady and leading Disney Channel stars (including, we assume, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, and Selena Gomez among others) to inspire healthier eating habits, physical activity and more. The messages will be featured across Disney’s kid and family targeted media platforms, including Disney Channel, Disney XD, Radio Disney and Disney.com, and will begin airing later this year.

From Disney Channel:
“Having been at the forefront of making healthier lifestyle choices appealing to kids and families, Disney is delighted to work with the First Lady to promote exercise, nutrition and healthy living,” said Robert A. Iger, president and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.

Disney’s participation in “Let’s Move” complements its long-standing commitment to kids’ health and nutrition. In 2006 Disney pioneered groundbreaking nutritional guidelines aimed at giving parents and children healthier eating options. Disney food policies limit the use of the company name and its characters to only those kid-focused products that meet specific guidelines, including limits on calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar.

Disney made nutritionally-beneficial changes in the meals served to children at all Disney-operated restaurants in the Disney Parks and Resorts. Today more than 85% of Disney’s licensed food portfolio consists of healthier options, including produce and low-fat dairy, with more than one billion servings of fruits and vegetables sold in 2009 alone. Disney Channels Worldwide is committed to programming that reflects and recognizes that everyone shares a responsibility to encourage kids and families to adopt healthy lifestyles. Guidelines are employed to model behavior that demonstrates good nutrition and physical activity.

At least one episode of each series currently in production — including “Hannah Montana,” “Wizards of Waverly Place,” “Sonny With A Chance,” “Zeke and Luther,” “Phineas and Ferb” and “The Suite Life on Deck” — centers on a healthy lifestyle theme. In addition, over 100 program "interstitials" have been dedicated to encouraging healthier lifestyles. They include ‘Pass the Plate,’ a global effort to both inform and empower viewers, showing them how kids just like them around the world enjoy and benefit from healthy foods, and “Get’cha Head in the Game,” an interstitial series that inspires kids to follow their dreams through physical activity.

Photo from the First Lady's Sesame Street appearance.

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