Main

Disney's Magic of Healthy Living Archives

April 18, 2013

Disney XD takes 2 approaches to Healthy Living campaign

kristinford.jpg

This month, Disney XD has involved viewers in two new initiatives that are part of Disney's Magic of Healthy Living campaign. If my elementary-school-age children are like typical viewers, though, one campaign project is more likely to make an impact than the other.

On Sunday, the network premiered the first half of "The Greatest Action Movie Ever (G.A.M.E)," a six-minute film designed to motivate kids to live healthier lifestyles. The movie is the culmination of a two-month contest on KIDZBOP.com that invited kids ages 5 to18 to submit videos that showcase their action moves and healthy eating habits in one of nine different scripted scenes. KIDZBOP.com users then voted on the 1,300 submissions to determine which real kids would star in "G.A.M.E." alongside Ryan Ochoa from the Disney XD series "Pair of Kings."

The second half of the film can be seen at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's BAM! Body and Mind website, BAM.gov, where there are additional health-related resources. Or, to see the movie in its entirety, viewers can go to KIDZBOP.com and Disney.com.

Disney-XD-Greatest-Action-Movie-Ever%20.jpg

Certainly, this seems like a winning formula for a Public Service Ad, right? The problem, though, is that the story comes off as hokey and the finished product is not remotely engaging for kids. I could barely get my children to watch the screen for six minutes, let alone digest the messages about nutrition and exercise. The battle theme reminds me a lot of the Habit Heroes exhibition at Epcot's Innoventions, which also relies on futuristic combat gimmicks.

My children are avid viewers of Disney XD and Disney Channel, so I asked them what type of show would motivate them to learn about healthy living. My son was quick to tell me about the upcoming Disney XD TRYathlon, where Disney actors compete in challenges that involve trying new foods and new moves. This summer competition resembles the popular and now-defunct Disney Channel Games, which were filmed at Walt Disney World in 2007 and 2008. The Disney XD TRYathlon offers a twist, though, in that viewers could try out to compete alongside the actors and professional athletes who also will be on the teams. An air date has not been announced, but last year's show was seen in August.

disney-xd-tryatalon-2012.jpg

My 10-year-old son said not only would he be willing to watch the TRYathlon, he would want to try some of the activities and foods. Recently, he and his 8-year-old sister did taste new foods that Disney chefs recommended for kids at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Each booth in the new Garden Marketplace offers TRYit dishes just for kids, and these range from Baked Goat's Brie with Kumquat Chutney to the dessert Frushi. (Find out what my kids liked best in our video and blog post.)

Certainly, Disney's Magic of Healthy Living campaign has encouraged children and families to lead healthier lives through its many initiatives throughout The Walt Disney Company. It would seem that the projects that are most appealing to kids are ones that tackle nutrition and exercise with straightforward and fun approaches, rather than contrived story lines that are devoid of the quality of entertainment that viewers of Disney XD expect.

March 19, 2013

Radio Disney brings fun and fitness to festival in Altamonte Springs

kristinford.jpg

Are you looking for some Disney fun this weekend -- without having to step onto Walt Disney World property during the busy Easter weeks?

Radio Disney AM 990 has just the event for Central Florida families. Join the Road Crew and actor Calum Worthy (Disney Channel's "Austin & Ally") at the Magic of Healthy Living Festival at Cranes Roost Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.

radio-disney-calum-worthy.jpg
Calum Worthy

The Magic of Healthy Living is a national initiative that The Walt Disney Company launched in 2010 to help children and their parents lead healthier lives. It focuses on nutritional guidelines and, most recently, standards for food advertising. On its Magic of Healthy Living web site and the companion Disney site, Family.com, there are ideas for exercising, recipes for delicious healthy foods, explanations of how to be health-conscious in the Disney Parks and even encouragement for trying new activities and foods.

At the festival, the focus will be on offering hands-on ways to deliver the message of healthy living, including fun options for getting active. The Ultimate Field Day area offers kids the chance to hula hoop, jump rope, try their hand at a ring toss, attempt a soccer goal and more. Of course, the Road Crew will be playing the latest music to get the crowd dancing. There will be more than 30 vendors lining Cranes Roost Boulevard and offering activities and information, including a kids' yoga demonstration by Florida Hospital for Children.

darden.jpg
Eric Darden

Walt Disney World, too, is among the vendors, and Eric Darden, horticulture manager for the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, will be representing the theme park at the booth. He will share tips about gardening as a great way to grow healthy foods and also take part in a 30-minute presentation on the amphitheatre stage at 2 p.m. during which he'll accept questions from the audience. Walt Disney World also will be giving away seed packets to visitors who stop by the booth.

Beginning at 12:30 p.m., Calum Worthy will take the stage and answer questions that were submitted earlier in the day in writing by festival-goers. Afterward, he will be available to meet and talk with fans.

Visitors who are 16 years old or younger also will be able to enter the Radio Disney Music Awards Ultimate Sweepstakes, which gives the winner a trip to Los Angeles to experience the awards show as a VIP.

June 20, 2012

Disney aims to better kids' health by banning junk-food ads, improving theme park meals

kristinford.jpg

mickey-check.jpg

Earlier this month, The Walt Disney Co. announced the next steps in its Magic of Healthy Living campaign: banning most junk-food advertising on its programs for kids and helping guests recognize healthy food in its theme parks and at retail stores with new labeling. I applaud and appreciate these moves.

Established in 2006, Disney's nutrition guidelines are aligned to federal standards by promoting fruit and vegetable consumption, limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium and sugar. The new advertising standards will affect Disney XD, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Saturday morning shows on ABC stations, Radio Disney and online programming. The stations and websites have until 2015 to meet the new guidelines.

As a parent, I believe it is my job -- not Disney's -- to help my children eat healthfully and learn about proper nutrition for when they are old enough to make such decisions for themselves. But I've seen firsthand how susceptible children are to marketing that occurs during their favorite televisions shows or by their favorite characters, and I welcome this help with open arms.

The influence of television advertising was apparent to me again this week when my elementary-school-age children asked several times if we could eat at Subway this week. When I asked why, they explained that the current kids' meals toys are from Disney-Pixar's upcoming movie "Brave." (Disney made a conscious decision to limit its involvement with fast-food restaurants in 2006 by halting the licensing of its film characters for McDonald's Happy Meals.)

"The emotional connection kids have to our characters and stories gives us a unique opportunity to continue to inspire and encourage them to lead healthier lives," said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co., in a press release.

Disney already has taken steps toward helping parents fight childhood obesity with changes it made in its California theme parks and at Walt Disney World. Six years ago, kids' meals were reconfigured so that fruits and vegetables and low-fat milk were automatically included with the meals -- unless parents opted out and asked for French fries and soda. The company says that of the more than 12 million kids' meals served last year in its U.S. theme parks, parents stuck with the healthier options 60 percent of the time.

Now, Disney is turning its theme-park efforts to further reducing sodium in kids' meals and introducing new well-balanced kids' breakfast meals.

The Walt Disney Co. also introduced the Mickey Check, a symbol that will label as healthy licensed food in retail stores, on menus in theme parks and on qualified recipes on Disney.com and Family.com. I think this will be helpful to parents as well as send the message to kids that nutritious foods still can be fun and tasty. My children can spot the Mickey Mouse-shaped chicken nuggets, cheese and fruit packs as soon as we enter a grocery store. Now, they'll learn a little more about why the foods they like are good for their bodies, too.

Return to Blog Central

About Disney's Magic of Healthy Living

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Disney's Magic of Healthy Living category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Disney's Earport is the previous category.

Disney's PhotoPass is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.