The front page article of the business section in today’s newspaper warmed my heart and got me to thinking that maybe, just maybe the tide will begin to turn on this epidemic of childhood obesity. The piece, by Gary Gentile, picked up in our local paper from the AP was titled:

The Healthiest Place on Earth? Disney aims to improve diets of kids with new guidelines.

The gist of the piece is that the Disney Company, arguably among the most influential of corporate voices speaking to young, impressionable children, has declared its intention to promote healthier eating both in its theme parks and in the meals inside whatever kid’s meal box it plasters its latest cartoon hero or heroine on.

What I thought especially heartening was the that guidelines for what it will serve at the parks and in the fast food kid’s meals it uses to promote its animated movies don’t just focus on fat.

That’s not to say, of course that they don’t still line up behind all the usual (misguided) directives on limiting fat in general and (even more misguided) saturated fat in particular, but at least they’ve also decreed not merely to limit but to outright ban trans fats in all meals at their US parks by the end of 2007 and in any promotional item by 2008.

No transfats allowed! Hats off to the forward-thinking folks at the place my husband (who worked at Disneyland long years ago in his misbegotten youth) still fondly calls “The Biggest People Trap Ever Built By A Mouse!”

What fair took my breath away, though, was that right there beside the expected directives that no entree or side dish can contain more than 30% of calories as fat and no snack more than 35% and no dish of any stripe more than 10% of calories as saturated fat proudly stood another much more important one that says they will:

Limit sugar to 10% of calories for main dishes and side dishes and 25% of calories for snacks.

It’s not the whole enchilada starry eyed dreamers like me would hope for, but it’s a major step toward better health for kids in this country. All I can say is Yipppeee!

For once, somebody with some clout is taking a swipe at Big Sugar.
Who’d a thought the first blow would be landed by Mickey Mouse?

One Comment

  1. I’d read an article that mentioned the parks, but not the fast food!! That is awesome! But what’s MacD’s gonna do about their caramel that goes with the apples and the sweet sweet sauces?? Guess they’re gonna have to think of something else. Hmmmm maybe pair the apple with some cheese? Oh I am a dreamer, aren’t I?

    COMMENT from MD EADES: The article I linked to in the blog said that the co-promotional deal with Mickey D’s is set to expire soon–I assume that’s why the fast food guidelines aren’t slated to begin until 2008. It didn’t say whether there would be a new deal with the Golden Arches for meals that met the guidelines (maybe your dreams will come true?) or that Disney would be partnering with another fast food purveyor who would/could meet the guidelines. It should prove interesting to see how it al plays out.

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