The Children's Food Campaign has urged the UK government to follow the lead of Walt Disney Company in setting nutritional guidelines for companies advertising through its media outlets.

Walt Disney's new initiative which will apply to US media from 2015, and go worldwide in the future, require foods being advertised on Disney TV, radio and websites to meet its guidelines on levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat in the product.

US first lady Michelle Obama has described the move as "a game changer for the health of our children".

Campaigners in the UK, where obesity rates are predicted to rise to 40 per cent by 2030, welcomed the move and are keen for UK companies to follow suit.

However, CFC, which which represents more than 100 organisations concerned with improving food and farming, want to see the government go a step further and introduce national guidelines to apply to all companies.

Its co-ordinator, Malcolm Clark, said: "What interests me is that (Disney) is recognising that it needs to cover the whole gamut of its media empire rather than just TV advertising.

"The good part of the announcement is saying that it is not just about junk food as popular conception might have it - burgers and chocolate - but all the products that are regarded as high in fat, salt and sugar.

"Any product that is high in fat, salt or sugar and gets a particular 'score' cannot be advertised on a programme that is primarily aimed at children. Unfortunately, the big gap is family programming, such as the X Factor, which includes a lot of young viewers but may not be regarded as primarily aimed at children."

A Department of Health spokesperson said that while more than 20 companies have signed up to its calorie reduction pledge "the Disney ban is a good example of a company making a difference far more rapidly than we could achieve through legislation."

Posted 07/06/2012 by