Disney to ban junk food advertising on its TV channels

The Walt Disney Co. has become the first major media company to ban junk-food advertising on programming that targets children.

Building on a healthy-foods initiative in its theme parks, Disney imposed new standards for food and beverages advertised on Disney XD and during the Saturday morning programs on Disney-owned ABC television stations. Disney Channel and Disney Junior, which are not ad-supported but receive brand sponsorships, would also be covered under the nutrition guidelines…

Kanter Media, a research firm specializing in advertising, estimated the total amount of ad spending for this kind of advertising on Disney-owned channels and Saturday morning children’s programming on ABC totaled $7.2 million in 2011.

First Lady Michelle Obama, who has made fighting the childhood obesity epidemic and promoting healthy eating a hallmark of her time in the White House, praised Disney’s initiative at a Tuesday morning news conference at the Newseum in Washington.

This new initiative is truly a game-changer for the health of our children,” Obama said. “So, for years, people told us that no matter what we did to get our kids to eat well and exercise, we would never solve our childhood obesity crisis until companies changed the way that they sell food to our children. We all know the conventional wisdom about that. … Today, Disney has turned that conventional wisdom on its head.”

Six years ago, Disney instituted healthier food options at its theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando, Fla., automatically including carrots and low-fat milk in children’s meals unless parents requested otherwise. Its consumer products division changed its licensed food program so that 85% of its offerings comply with the company’s nutrition guidelines. It even chose to stop licensing its characters for McDonald’s “Happy Meals,” citing the links between fast food and childhood obesity…

“We’ve taken steps across our company to support better choices for families,” Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Robert A. Iger said in a statement. “And now, we’re taking the next important step forward by setting new food advertising standards for kids.”

Bravo! Michelle Obama’s campaign is worth supporting. Disney’s decision is an example of an American corporation ready to demonstrate leadership instead of focusing solely on short-term profits.

Partial junk food ban brings positive results in California

Five years after California started cracking down on junk food in school cafeterias, a new report shows that high school students there consume fewer calories and less fat and sugar at school than students in other states.

…The study found that California high school students consumed on average nearly 160 calories fewer per day than students in other states, the equivalent of cutting out a small bag of potato chips. That difference came largely from reduced calorie consumption at school, and there was no evidence that students were compensating for their limited access to junk food at school by eating more at home.

While a hundred calories here or there may not sound like much, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the United States in the last four decades, and many researchers say that most children and adolescents could avoid significant long-term weight gain by cutting out just 100 to 200 extra calories a day…

California students had the lowest daily intake of calories, fat and, especially, added sugars. And it seemed clear that their eating behaviors at school played a large role. California students got a lower proportion of their daily calories from school foods than students in other states: about 21.5 percent, compared with 28.4 percent among students elsewhere…

Still, California’s students had not suddenly become health nuts. They were still eating junk food — just slightly less of it than their peers in other states. And their vitamin and mineral intake was similar to that of students in other parts of the country.

…Dr. Daniel Taber said…said that schools could take an additional step by replacing some of the junk food being filtered out with healthy options like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Iowa, for example, began requiring in 2010 that at least half of the foods available outside meal plans contain whole grains. Other than that, no state has laws that require whole, unprocessed or fresh foods to be available outside of school lunches for high school students…

Dr. Taber realizes that school-based rules are limited. Students consume about 25 percent of their calories at school. Looking for a magic switch to turn off won’t change the whole problem. The battle for healthy kids is going to require strategies that take the message home.

But, changing the landscape in school – ceded to the junk food trade years ago – is a healthy step forward. These are verifiable results.

Schoolkids deserve better than junk food – Congress says NO

Your kids deserve better. Because Congress failed to pass the Child Nutrition Bill last week, unhealthy school lunches will remain unhealthy.

While the bill wasn’t perfect, it would have created stronger nutritional standards and provided more money for the school lunch program — adding six cents per lunch for the first time in 30 years. This was the first step on the long ladder to fresh food, and now it’s a missed opportunity.

Among other things, this bill would have banned the junk food that is served in schools and competes with the fresh food your kids need. Eating this junk every day will take 10 years off their lives and cost you a fortune — adding thousands of dollars to the family health care tab…

Over the last two years, more than 700 advocacy groups have been working to get these important changes written into law. Yet Congress could not bring enough support to pass the bill. Do members not value the health of America’s kids..?

If this bill doesn’t get passed when Congress comes back in November, then it’s going to be another five years before we have another shot at fixing these regulations. Five years is too long to wait. Without this legislation, school food will stay in the Dark Ages of nutrition and your kids are going to suffer. They deserve better.

Congress has denied funds sufficient to add just one apple to children’s meals.

It wasn’t the Party of NO, alone. Though their opposition to anything shy of funding global thermonuclear war is predictable.

Nope, liberal Dems who said they resented the plan’s funding from the budget for food stamps provoked their resistance. I guess they’re incapable of rewriting a bill that needs broader, more progressive riders. That’s the excuse, anyway.

Israel eases Gaza embargo to allow junk food


Israel’s coastal defense against foreign invaders

Israel is easing its Gaza embargo to allow snack food and drinks into the Palestinian enclave…following an international outcry over Israel’s raid on an aid flotilla.

Hamas, the Islamist group that rules the Gaza Strip, said the territory needs cement — banned by Israel and essential for reconstruction after a December 2008-January 2009 war — not soft drinks.

An Israeli official said the new product list, announced hours before U.S. President Barack Obama was to host Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, was unrelated to Israel’s May 31 takeover of the convoy that challenged its Gaza blockade.

The talks between Obama and Abbas are expected to focus on ways to ease the embargo, which has drawn mounting international criticism since Israeli commandos…killed nine pro-Palestinian activists.

The Palestinian officials, based in the West Bank, said that as of next week, Israel will allow a wider variety of food, such as potato crisps, biscuits, canned fruit and packaged hummus, as well as soft drinks and juice, into the Gaza Strip.

They will send the first course. We are waiting for the main course,” Palestinian Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh said in Ramallah. “We are waiting for this unjust siege to end.”

It is wholly unsurprising that a government consumed with egregious and bigoted ideology treats other nations – captive nations – as imperial nations have always treated their servants.

The right-wing Israeli government needs to be thrown out of office. If the nation of Israel, that minority of residents within the current boundaries of Israel who are allowed to vote, continues to maintain crap politicians in office – they deserve the disdain they receive from the rest of the world.

Eating crap processed foods helps CSI catch you

The inventor of a revolutionary new forensic fingerprinting technique claims criminals who eat processed foods are more likely to be discovered by police through their fingerprint sweat corroding metal.

Dr John Bond, a researcher at the University of Leicester and scientific support officer at Northamptonshire Police, said processed food fans are more likely to leave tell-tale signs at a crime scene…Dr Bond said sweaty fingerprint marks made more of a corrosive impression on metal if they had a high salt content.

And he revealed he was currently in early talks with colleagues at the University of Leicester to assess whether a sweat mark left at a crime scene could be analysed to reveal a ‘sweat profile’ ie more about the type of person who left the mark.

Dr Bond…has developed a method that enables scientists to ‘visualise fingerprints’ even after the print itself has been removed. He and colleagues conducted a study into the way fingerprints can corrode metal surfaces. The technique can enhance – after firing– a fingerprint that has been deposited on a small calibre metal cartridge case before it is fired.

RTFA – there are some interesting avenues for forensic research suggested by Dr. Bond’s work.