The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday that it will become...

The Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday that it will become the first major media company to ban such commercials for its TV channels, radio stations and websites intended for children. Credit: Bloomberg News, 2009

Disney says its programming will no longer be sponsored by junk food.

The Walt Disney Co. said yesterday that it will become the first major media company to ban such commercials for its TV channels, radio stations and websites intended for children. That means kids watching Saturday morning children's shows on Disney's ABC network will no longer see ads for fast foods and sugary cereals that don't meet company's nutrition standards.

The guidelines won't go into effect until 2015 because of existing advertising agreements.

"With this new initiative, Disney is doing what no major media company has ever done before in the U.S. -- and what I hope every company will do going forward," first lady Michelle Obama said, calling the plan a "game changer."

Disney says its guidelines are aligned with federal standards to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables and reduce the intake of sodium, sugar and saturated fat.

The kids' meals offered by traditional fast-food chains may not meet the new advertising guidelines, even if the meals come with healthy side orders, says Leslie Goodman, Disney's senior vice president of corporate citizenship. That's because Disney will be assessing the restaurant's broader offerings in deciding whether to approve ads. The company will have to show it offers a broader menu of healthier options, she said.

Also Tuesday, the first lady was asked about Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to limit the size of sugary drinks to 16 ounces at New York City's restaurants, delis, food trucks, movie theaters and sporting arenas.

She told the AP there's no "one-size-fits-all" solution for the country's health challenges. But she said, "We applaud anyone who's stepping up to think about what changes work in their communities. New York is one example." Asked whether the nation's obesity epidemic warrants taking a more aggressive approach, she said: "There are people like Mayor Bloomberg who are, and that is perfectly fine."

She later issued a statement saying that she hadn't intended to weigh in on the Bloomberg plan "one way or the other . . . this is not something the administration is pursuing at a federal level and not something I'm specifically endorsing or condemning."

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