As a child I read pretty much every book written by Beverly Cleary that I could find at the library. In one of the books I recall reading a side storyline about how there was advertising on television for something for children, and how much the television advertising directly influenced the requests that the children made for products at the local store. The more junk that gets peddled to kids, the more they want. If there were advertisements for only healthy food on the channels they watched, they would not be so driven toward the junk food. Seems like a far fetched fantasy, doesn’t it? Now the Walt Disney company is going to be making that dream a reality.
In the next three years, all programming for children on Disney owned media including their radio station, websites, and ABC will no longer permit advertising from food makers who do not meet specific healthful guidelines, reflected by ones that were set forth by the United States government. The Walt Disney Company is already working with companies to rework their foods so that they meet the guidelines. First Lady Michelle Obama called this a game changer and hopes that other media companies will follow suit.
I think that this is an excellent goal for the Disney company but I would like to suggest an idea that I have had that might work in addition to their removing unhealthy food and that is the advertising of food that would normally not get advertising — fresh fruit and vegetables. They wouldn’t even have to look that far for help — Sesame Street has a commercial all ready for praising the benefits of broccoli.
It would be superb if this was the start of every media producer would follow the lead of the Walt Disney Company and remove junk food ads from their productions. Maybe we can start to see product placements in movies and on television for fresh produce. “Pass me a bowl of broccoli, would you?” a character might say before reaching for some excellent green stuff. It could be one of the motivating factors for children to start eating healthfully in the United States.