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Colorado Doc Helped Create Disney’s New Child Nutrition Guidelines

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Dr. James Hill talks with CBS4's Kathy Walsh. (credit: CBS)

Dr. James Hill talks with CBS4’s Kathy Walsh. (credit: CBS)

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Disney is getting serious about helping children slim down. The company announced Tuesday it will ban advertisements for sugary cereals and fast food on its TV and radio stations, and on the Disney website.

It’s a first for a big media company. One cup of sugary breakfast cereal can have up to 20 grams of sugar. That’s about four teaspoons. The people who brought the famous mouse say, “No more.”

Come 2015 all food and beverages advertised on Disney media for children will have to meet the company’s nutrition guidelines. A wide range of candy, cereals and fast food won’t make the cut.

First Lady Michelle Obama applauded her newest partner in fighting obesity.

“This new initiative is truly a game changer for the health of our children,” she said.

Part of the credit goes to Dr. James Hill of the Anschutz Heath and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado.

“I think this announcement today is going to do more for childhood obesity than anything I can think of in recent years,” Hill said.

Hill was one of two experts who created the guidelines for Disney that made nutrition part of the company culture.

“Disney doesn’t do it unless it’s fun, so they’re combining fun and nutrition. Wow, nobody’s done that,” Hill said.

CBS4’s Gloria Neal interviewed Tracy Boyle with Livewell Colorado children’s nutrition. Watch the interview in the video clip below:

Colorado health officials hope others follow suit.

“We would encourage other TV networks that have childhood programs would adopt similar standards,” Eric Aakko with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said.

Hill believes Disney will work its usual magic.

“Is this going to solve obesity? No, but it actually is the first thing I’ve seen in quite some time that might actually move the needle,” Hill said.

Disney’s health kick also extends to its theme parks. They will cut sodium in children’s meals by 25 percent.

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