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Cartoon Network Adopts New Health Agenda

In a continuing campaign to promote health and wellness for children and families, Cartoon Network today announced newly formalized food- and beverage-related guidelines that will regulate the use of its licensed characters. They further pledged to develop new programming that integrates positive messages regarding nutrition and activity.

The newly adopted guidelines were developed primarily from nutritional standards for school food issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, and in consultation with nutritional experts Bonnie Taub-Dix, MA, RD, CDN (National Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association) and Joanne Ikeda, MA, RD (pediatric obesity researcher, Nutritionist Emeritus at U.C. Berkeley). The regulations will govern the network's character product licensing and custom brand-integrated promotional tie-ins that Cartoon Network may conduct with advertisers on-air, online, and on-pack.

Under the new policies, Cartoon Network will restrict the use of its original characters from company-owned original series that target children under the age of 12 to food and beverage products that meet specific nutritional criteria. The nutritional criteria will include a cap on total calories per appropriate serving, with limits on total fat, saturated fat, added trans fat, sodium and sugar, and a requirement encouraging recommended nutrients such as vitamin A and C, iron, calcium, protein, and fiber. The Guidelines will apply in the United States to all new product-licensing and promotional tie-in deals and to renewals of any existing deals starting January 1, 2008. The only exception will be for the licensing of special-occasion sweets.

Cartoon Network is also working with its nutritional experts to develop creative new programming that will incorporate messages regarding nutrition and activity to help educate and encourage families to adopt healthy lifestyles. This policy builds on Cartoon Network's extensive variety of "Get Animated" outreach programs and multi-platform promotions aimed at reaching children with healthy lifestyle messages.

"Cartoon Network believes in a fully comprehensive approach to promoting overall child health," said Stuart Snyder, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Turner's Animation, Young Adults & Kids Media group. "Our strategy is to approach these current health issues on all fronts by carefully guiding our licensed character branding, developing new entertainment programming and interstitials to help teach recommended dietary practices, and promoting multiple off-channel partnerships that will inspire kids to develop a more active lifestyle."

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