The Walt Disney Company on Thursday threw its weight behind a campaign championed by US First Lady Michelle Obama to push back child obesity.
The "Magic of Healthy Living" campaign will feature public service announcements by Michelle Obama, teen idol Nick Jonas, TV star Brenda Song and other celebrities, all seeking "to inspire kids" to lead healthy lives and help their parents to instill good habits in them, Disney said in a statement.
As part of the campaign, Disney will make a one million dollar grant to help build play spaces and gardens in 10 underserved communities nationwide.
A lack of safe places to play in many US inner cities leads children to stay indoors and not get any exercise, and has been pointed to as one of chief culprits behind the United States' childhood obesity problem.
The Disney initiative is part of the "Let's Move" campaign launched by the US first lady in January this year to push back the epidemic of US childhood obesity within a generation.
Childhood obesity affects three times more US kids today than it did 30 years ago, Obama said when she launched the campaign.
Nearly one in five US kids aged six to 19 are obese, which in technical terms mean they have a body mass index -- calculated by dividing a person's weight in kilograms by their height squared in meters -- greater than 30.
In health terms, it means they are at greater risk for a whole host of maladies, ranging from high blood pressure to diabetes, heart disease and stroke, and experts have predicted that this generation of American children could be the first to have shorter lifespans than their parents.
Mrs Obama said in a statement Thursday that the Disney program will help carry the Let's Move goal of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic "directly to kids, the key stakeholders in this effort.
"I hope through programs like the Magic of Healthy Living young people are inspired to take control of their own health, fitness and nutrition and engage their families, schools and communities to do the same," she said.
Disney's latest effort in the fight against childhood obesity follows on from a campaign launched in 2006, associating the entertainment giant's brands and charascters with healthy, balanced foods.
"We are very proud to take the next step in our long-term commitment to helping families achieve healthier lifestyles, and are especially gratified to work with the first lady on the 'Let?s Move' campaign," said Disney president and CEO Bob Iger.
The US childhood obesity epidemic has been blamed on several issues including a poor diet based on processed foods and sugary drinks; lack of access to good food, especially in US inner cities; and kids spending too much time in front of the television and or playing computer games when they could be out playing.
Click to view image: 'a05f2c90155b-michelleobama.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|