Mickey Mouse helps Walt Disney Parks and Resorts culinary dietary specialist Gary Jones make healthy smoothies during an event introducing Disney's new "Magic of Healthy Living" program. Picture: AFP

The Walt Disney Company, in a first for a US media giant, says it will ban junk food advertising on its TV channels and websites from 2015 to help fight obesity among children.

"This new initiative is truly a game changer for the health of our children," said First Lady Michelle Obama, a champion of better eating for young people who attended Disney's landmark announcement in Washington on Tuesday.

"This is a major American company, a global brand, that is literally changing the way it does business so that our kids can lead healthier lives."

Disney said all food and drinks advertised on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney, and Disney-owned children's websites would, from 2015, be required to meet its own nutrition guidelines.

"The nutrition guidelines are aligned to federal standards, promote fruit and vegetable consumption and call for limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium, and sugar," it said.

Besides the new advertising standards, Disney said it would roll out a "Mickey Check" icon this year to help families identify nutritious food and menu items at its retail shops and theme parks.

Seventeen per cent of US children are obese, a figure that has tripled in 30 years, according to a report last month from the Institute of Medicine that warned of a "catastrophic" impact on national health care and productivity.

Packaged snack food from Walt Disney. Picture: AFP

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