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Disney to encourage kids to eat healthy

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MUMBAI: The Walt Disney Company has introduced new food guidelines for licensed foods and promotions aimed at children that will govern Disney's business partnerships and activities in the U.S. on a going-forward basis and will be adapted internationally over the next several years.

The new policies call for Disney to use its name and characters ond fat and sugar. ly on kid-focused products that meet specific guidelines, including limits on calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar.

Disney also announced nutritionally-beneficial changes in the meals served to children at all Disney-operated restaurants in its parks and resorts and unveiled a company-wide plan to eliminate added trans fats from food served at its parks by the end of 2007 and from its licensed and promotional products by the end of 2008.

"Disney will be providing healthier options for families that seek them, whether at our Parks or through our broad array of licensed foods," said Disney president and CEO Robert Iger. "The Disney brand and characters are in a unique position to market food that kids will want and parents will feel good about giving them."

Disney Consumer Products has already begun to offer many licensed products which comply with the guidelines. They include breakfast items such as instant oatmeal featuring characters like The Incredibles and Kim Possible, and Disney Garden fresh produce such as kid-sized apples and bananas. Lunch and dinner foods such as Mickey-shaped organic ravioli and other pastas are also now available, informs an official release.

Beginning this month in U.S. Disney Parks and Resorts, kids' meals are automatically being served with low fat milk, 100 percent fruit juice or water along with side dishes like apple sauce or carrots in place of the traditional soft drinks and French fries. Initial tests involving 20,000 kids' meals show that as many as 90 percent of parents and kids stayed with the more nutritious option.

Added trans fats are in the process of being removed from all Disney food offerings. Food served at the U.S. Disney Parks and Resorts will be free of added trans fats by the end of 2007. Disney's U.S. licensing and promotional groups are aiming to meet an end-2008 deadline.

These guidelines are based on The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and have been developed in cooperation with two child health and wellness experts, Dr. James O. Hill, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and Dr. Keith Thomas Ayoob, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

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