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Disney plans to ban ads for junk food Deal will affect TV, radio, Web

There won't be any more candy, sugary cereal or fast food on TV with the morning cartoons.

The Walt Disney Co. on Tuesday became the first major media company to ban ads for junk food on its television channels, radio stations and websites, hoping to stop kids from eating badly by taking the temptation away.

First lady Michelle Obama, who heads a campaign against childhood obesity, called it a "game changer" that is sure to send a message to the rest of the children's entertainment industry.

The food that doesn't meet Disney's nutritional standards goes beyond candy bars and fast-food meals. Capri Sun juice (too much sugar) and Oscar Mayer Lunchables (high sodium) won't be advertised. Any cereal with 10 grams or more of sugar per serving is also off the air. A full meal can't be more than 600 calories.

Disney's rules -- which won't take effect until 2015 -- follow a controversial proposal in New York to take supersized drinks over 16 ounces out of convenience stores, movie theaters and restaurants, removing choices to try and influence behavior.

Getting rid of junk food ads will make it easier to keep the family on a healthy diet, said Nadine Haskell, a mother of two sons, 8 and 11.

"If they see a commercial on TV, then the next time we go to the grocery store they'll see it and say they want to try it," said Haskell, of Columbus, Ohio.

Disney declined to say how much revenue it stands to lose from banning unhealthy food. CEO Bob Iger said there might be a short-term reduction in advertising revenue, but he hopes that companies will eventually adjust and create new products that meet the standards.

The ban would apply to TV channels such is Disney XD, Saturday morning children's programming on Disney-owned ABC channels, Radio Disney and Disney-owned websites aimed at families with young children. The company's Disney Channel has sponsorships, but does not run ads.

Even though many fast-food chains and food companies are rolling out healthier options like apples and salads, Disney said it still could deny the companies' ads.

Margo Wootan, nutrition policy director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said that while some snack foods of limited nutritional value may still be advertised, the worst of the junk foods will be eliminated under the new policy.

"Disney's announcement really puts a lot of pressure on Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network and other media to do the same," she added.

A spokesman for Nickelodeon declined to comment.

Disney on Tuesday also introduced its "Mickey Check" seal of approval for nutritious foods sold in stores, online and at its parks and resorts.