Thursday, February 23, 2012

Disney's Horrifying New Interactive Childhood Obesity Exhibit at Epcot

Joining the State of Georgia's Strong4Life campaign in demonstrating a complete lack of understanding for childhood obesity is Disney with its new Epcot exhibit and online campaign Habit Heroes.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Epcot's exhibit has kids following two characters, "Will Power" and "Callie Stenics", through a 4,700 square foot attraction that has them shooting virtual hot dogs with broccoli and dancing to defeat a super-super morbidly obese character named Lead Bottom.

Because after all, kids with obesity are obviously just gluttonous and lazy and they probably lie around and eat junk food all day, right?

That's what Disney thinks.

Think I'm exaggerating?

There's an online component where you get to fight the "Bad Habits".

Here's some photos of the bad habit characters.

A little Dance, Dance, Revolution and some broccoli spears ought to clear everything up, right?

It couldn't possibly be a problem with the environment the kids are growing up in, could it?  Geez, kids these days, they just don't try hard enough, do they?

So thanks for being so helpful Disney - I mean if your kid's not overweight or obese, here's to Disney reinforcing society's most hateful negative obesity stereotyping, and if they are overweight or obese - what kid doesn't want to be made to feel like a personal failure while on a Disney family vacation?

[UPDATE: 48 hours after this blog was posted, and after intense uproar in social media circles and in the press, Disney did the right thing and closed the exhibit for retooling. Kudos to them for responding quickly - I'm sure their intent wasn't to vilify children with obesity and am hopeful that Habit Heroes' next iteration will be a helpful ally in good health]

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  1. I was an obese kid and if that type of exhibit had been around when I was growing up, it wouldn't have stopped me from eating. More likely, it would have made me feel so bad about myself that I would have shoveled food in to make myself feel better. Not helpful if you have emotional issues concerning food.

    1. Anonymous7:10 pm

      Same here. There's nothing like some good anti-fat preaching to make me work up an appetite.

    2. Anonymous9:27 pm

      I agree it is likely to have made me overeat then and now, but for the fact that today I am comfotable in my own skin and I know "The size of my life is not defined by the size of my body".Karen Cigna. Today I realize I take better care of myself and my body when I love myself from the inside out. However, I did not realize that until after spending 29 years of my life at war with my body. Counting calories, exercising obsessively, and yet still never feeling thin enough even when I starved myself down to a size 2, so eventually I ate myself up to a size 26, until I decided to learn to love myself in a way I never learned to love myself at a size 2 and then I lost weight in a healhty way. without diets, without starving without bulimia. To think Disney got this so wrong, shows just how much more we need to educate about Eating disorders, which is quite ironic during National Eating Disorder Awaeness Week, which is taking place right now. We cannot merely try to treat the symptoms of obesity, appearance we have to treat the underlying causes, emotional eating. When the children's book "Maggie Goes On A diet", was written I wrote my response "Maggie Gets Am Eating Disorder" That Says It all. See my story

  2. Anonymous8:49 am

    What kind of food is available at this Disney location, and what is the cost for healthy food compared to junk food?

    1. I did a post on Disney food last's horrifying too.

    2. Yoni

      Please get off of your politically correct soap box. Obesity is a real problem in this county. Would you rather have Disney show these characters as slim in shape individuals? What point would that be making? We as a public have been force feeding our kids that ever kids a winner and every kid is special and being overweight is not your fault. Well I'm sorry but that's just not true. The majority of the obese children in America are this shape due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise. Just because it may hurt doesn't necessarily make wrong.

    3. Anonymous7:12 pm

      So making kids feel horrible about themselves is going to change something? What on earth makes you think shaming kids will change the environments they grow up in?

    4. Anonymous12:38 am

      Well I was a fat kid and I'm a fat adult. As a child I had confidence. So when I see people getting upset about this I don't understand why. If you don't like being fat do something about it. So I probably won't sign your petition.

  3. Yoni, I do not have words for this. Any reasonable person should be able to see the discrimination taking place here.

    I would love to know what sickos thought this up. You know it is possible for a kid to have the habit of eating fast, processed foods, and not enough exercise and be thin.

    Size is not health. I just have to think that there are really some creative people at Disney that if they wanted to use their money for social good for healthy habits, they could have done something that was actually educational and helpful.

    I'm disgusted.

    1. You and me both.

      I think though it just reflects the incredible ignorance of society when it comes to weight.

      Guessing they just got the wrong folks involved and clearly, there wasn't much in the way of expert oversight.

    2. ruthdemitroff1:28 pm

      Problematic on at least 2 levels. Disneyland is a world of fantasy, entertainment, family fun.
      1. In a fantasy world, everyone can be whoever they want to be - a princess, a superhero, etc. Size has no bearing on the quality of our imagination or how we choose to see ourselves if anything were possible.
      2. Part of family fun is valuing, appreciating and caring about one another. Whether the obese family member is a child, a parent, a grandparent or a chosen family member, no corporation has the right to shame or villainize your loved one and call it fun.

    3. Anonymous6:22 pm

      I was the kid who ate fast, bought candy behind my parents' backs at every turn, read books inside all day and was 100 pounds in the 10th grade. My best friend has struggled with weight her whole life and had much better habits than I ever did. Right on! Way to maintain your reputation for bolstering stereotypes and lacking nuance, Disney!

    4. Anonymous1:56 pm

      Two thumbs up for Disney...

      The rest can take a flying F at a donut ... except you will probably eat in the way through

    5. Anonymous3:34 pm

      well they may be thin but they are by NO MEANS healthy!! there are over 18 million OBESE children I blame the parents for bad parenting. 70 % of US child diet chips, fries, hamburgers, Soda and processed foods. So what should be vegtables, fruit and lean meats the ladder is what they are being fed. It is true you reap what you sow. The numbers don't lie. Instead of complaining change your own house.Disney doesnt make you buy the food rtheir it is your choice choose something different. Stop whining .

      Eat healthy exercise put down the remote

    6. Anonymous3:34 pm

      Disney wasn't trying to harm anyone and they certainly aren't spewing hatred toward people who are obese. They were simply trying to shed light, as tactfully as possible, on a major problem that exists right now and is only getting worse. Why aren't we allowed to express the truth anymore without someone/everyone taking offense? In most cases, a young child's weight is actually the parents fault since they are the ones who allow them to become sedentary by playing mindless video/computer games and they are the ones who buy/make the poor food choices Maybe the exhibit would have enlightened the parents a bit and made them feel ashamed for allowing their child to develop these bad habits.
      And just in case anyone who reads this is wondering...I am not some hard-core physically fit, skinny minny. I was not an overweight child but I have struggled over the years with my weight and I know whose fault it is (my own) and yet, I personally would not have judged this exhibit so harshly or taken offense to it. The exhibit simply states the truth, the same truth that our doctors express to us every time we visit, and we as a nation need to stop being so afraid of the truth.

    7. Anonymous3:43 pm


  4. I am close to tears reading about this campaign. Thanks for posting this and will forward as well as put on my blog. So much hate and now Disney money and influence behind it makes me sick. This has the potential to hurt so many people and help no one.

  5. What a bad campaign, especially at Walt Disney. There is so much junk food on site. They should do a campaign for parents to tell them that they are killing their kids to feed them the way they do. When we were visiting Disney with our three kids, years ago, we packed lunches every day and we would do picnics. I have to say that many parents came to me and asked where I bought my food.

    I have to agree with Rebecca, one of my sons, now 20, does not always follow a healthy diet and he is tall and thin. I still continue to guide him in the right direction but he lives on his own now. I still think that it is my responsibility, as a parent, to make sure my kids eat a healthy diet.

    BTW just discovered your blog, I'm from Ottawa also. Have a great day!

  6. Wow, that is just horrifying! The children I see already feel bad enough about their weight :(

    And what is with those bad habit character names?

  7. This makes me want to cry.

    Disney is taking the side of the bullies who torment overweight kids, strengthening the cycle of depression, bullying, and unhealth.

  8. Not only that, they're blaming fat and saying nothing about high sugar and starch foods. It's eating those in combination with fats that contributes to being overweight, not the fat itself.

  9. Anonymous12:14 pm

    Those bad habit characters sure look a lot like the parents I see buying "food" for their children at the grocery store. Disney is really missing the boat if they think that children are the decision makers. Children may be powerful influencers, but the parent(s) ultimately makes the purchase and sets the example.

  10. Anonymous1:11 pm

    How about shining a light on the contaminants that are allowed in the food. When I was growing up you didn't have to choose between organic and whatever the regular (now contaminated) item is.

  11. Wow. I am trying to understand how creating cartoon characters and naming them lead bottom is any different from teasing kids on the playground by calling them hurtful names. It's kind of amazing that this idea got past the brainstorming session. I'm sad that the complex topic of obesity was simplified like this. What's really scary is that children are the focus audience for this and we all know that children's self image is forming in these years. How will an overweight child react?

  12. The negative themematic treatment of obesity has occurred in two recent animated movies that come to mind. First was Monster House in 2006. A scary house in the neighborhood was a reincarnated manifestation of a psychotic fat woman. Then there was Wall-E while outwardly a statement on the earth's trashing of the environment had the not-so-subtle subtext of all the survivors of the apocalypse morphed into non-ambulatory fatties. (They didn't even notice they had a pool.)

    This type of message does not help the problem.

    1. Anonymous2:39 pm

      I dunno.. I thought Wall-E made some great inferences about the trends of society.. okay, I get that vilifying non-ideal-weight people through cartoons is not the best way to educate kids, but getting rid of any popular media reference to the disturbing health trends in the world? Why?

      It seems that none of the other proposed methods of getting the message of dangerous habits across to the public are working - or are they? Are there health campaigns that have indeed been successful? I'm asking because I genuinely do not know.

      If only for my benefit alone - what would constitute an engaging health campaign about obesity, without making the eating and laziness (things that come much more easier to those that don't regularly exercise, ie, the focus group of the campaign) seem bad? I mean, at some point, you're going to have to say that some habits aren't good.. and inevitably, there are going to be kids that feel hurt when they hear they aren't practicing good habits.. so do we protect them and not say anything negative about habits?

      Sure, there should be work done in related fields - regulation of the chemicals that go into food, parental education classes on how to eat healthy on a budget.. but is it really best to not address the kids themselves? Again, if there's a way you can make them aware of bad habits, but not marginally hurt their feelings, I'll admit that I don't know what it is..

    2. A good start for Disney specifically might be to educate kids that foods sold with cartoon characters aren't likely to be healthy, to actually offer healthy and low calorie options at the parks, to explain energy balance properly (like for instance that dancing for half an hour sure ain't gonna do much to burn calories), to teach about commercials and how they target children with unhealthy foods, to post calories on their parks' foods, to have cooking demonstrations. I could go on and on, but the one place they never should have gone was vilifying obesity as a disease of sloth.

    3. Anonymous3:08 pm

      Okay, I get your point.. but now put all of that into a medium that kids will actually care about and be entertained by... it's Disneyland, right? How do you do fun activities with a message of "Don't buy foods with cartoon characters on them". And really? You're going to bash dancing for 30 minutes? I don't think the goals is to say - 'this is what you do to be healthy' - I think it's more of a 'hey, activity can be fun.. don't you want to do other activities now, too?'. All of the major game platforms are doing the same sort of approach too - they all have the activity-based games with their camera peripherals now... Wii even makes your personal avatar have a portly figure if you have a high bodyweight when using WiiFit. To avoid association between body shape and health will not make it any less true, it will just make kids less aware that it IS an important correlation. I already said vilifying these body-types isn't the way to go (so please don't equate this post with support of the article's subject), but using animated mediums to share the message in a fun interactive way is, IMO, the way that you involve the video-game generation in real-life concerns. If you really want to get to the root of the problem, it's not that kids don't get the message - it's the parents' fault (yes, yes, except for the cases when the obesity is unavoidable, though I personally don't know when that situation arises). If parents were more committed to starting their kids on the healthy lifestyle earlier, it becomes an innate trait for them. Could it be that there is such an outcry from parents now about these campaigns because it hurts to know that they've put their children in a position where someone has to tell them that their lifestyle has to change?

    4. Anonymous11:08 am

      High-Five. Someone gets it. This type of cartoonery depicting overweight people is just a tool to help the kids understand that there is a problem with their weight. The first step is admitting that there is a problem.

      The kids may not be the main decision makers, but if they tell their parents they want carrot sticks instead of snickers, they just might get it.

      Disney's point was to educate children on their level. Or maybe it was to make the parents feel terrible that they are making their kids overweight and prone to health issues. Either way, it is a right step in the direction for society.

    5. Anonymous3:40 pm

      Well stated Anonymous! Disney wasn't trying to attack and shame kids who are overweight and it is a truthful and honest step in the right direction.

  13. >Because after all, kids with obesity are obviously just gluttonous and lazy and they probably lie around and eat junk food all day, right?

    You described American children quite well, well done!
    Props to disney for making this.

    1. Anonymous3:12 pm

      ha, yeah... an accurate depiction kinda stings, but if the shoe fits...

  14. Anonymous3:29 pm

    Ironically, the exhibit also has a low self-esteem habit to defeat...

  15. Anonymous3:32 pm

    There is or was a children's show on TV called Lazytown and the villian Robbie Rotten is thin, but hates anyone exercising. No one is fat on the show but when the children choose to be lazy excessively or choose to over-eat junk, they find that they miss out on fun or don't feel so well. My children liked the show and I didn't think it stereotyped. There was a boy who liked video games and that was ok and there was a boy who liked sweets and that was ok, but when they ignored EVERYTHING and only ate sweets or only played video games, then they suffered natural consequences, none of which were obesity.

    1. Anonymous6:06 pm

      Obesity is the natural consequence.

  16. Anonymous3:47 pm

    You want kids with eatting disorders this is the way to do it! Makes me sick just looking at it!

  17. Anonymous4:22 pm

    Wow.. after going to the website for this, you really just decided to pick and choose the habits that had to do with one aspect (eating) of poor health, eh? I think there's something like 15 different 'villains' on that site, and it pretty much encompasses all of the potential behavioral hazards that kids may experience (not just the eating ones). ALL of the villain avatars are super-stereotyped, making them less-likely for kids to actually identify with, but each of the characters is also 'comically' portrayed, to bring on a sense of fun for the kids.

    Have you actually played the game that they have online on their website? I haven't met all of the bad habits yet, but the message of the game isn't to condemn the villains, but to help them break their habits (giving 'Iced Cappuccino' - a villain - a bottle of water makes him realize how refreshing water is compared to caffeinated drinks) I'm not sure of the park-experience is different, but IMO, the game online is an excellent tool to make kids aware of bad habits and how they can try to fix them. And there's really no conflict, so there shouldn't be issues with kids feeling like they're the bad person.

    Give a short play of the online game and see if your criticism of this campaign is just as harsh.. it's not nearly as fault-assigning as commentators on this thread seem to believe.

    1. So let me get this straight.

      Your argument is that because only 20% of the bad guys specifically reinforce society's most harmful stereotypes surrounding obesity, it's ok?

    2. Anonymous4:54 pm

      no, my argument is that the obesity-related habits are put in the exact same light as the other habits, so they don't seem like they are their own breed of "oh, but if you have these, then you're really in trouble". When gossiping, bullying, hygiene and eating habits are all presented equally, why is it that you think the kids whose lives are affected by obesity would come away from the game feeling bad about themselves? And the point of the game is to reinforce positive habits - why is that bad? Just because a cartoon character looks a certain way, do kids really identify with the so quickly? And all of these 'villains' are portrayed as being genuinely happy when they try a 'good' habit.

      You're the doc, so you know the problem better than I, but I can't imagine that ANY kid playing this game would leave feeling more negative about themselves. 'Villain' is even too strong of a word - these characters for the most part are polite and maybe misguided, but the animated aspect makes you smile when you see one anyways.

      All I'm saying in general, is that there has to be some association made between lifestyle choices and the real physical manifestations that come with those choices. Using fun, happy video games with animated characters to partially remove the possibility for the kids to identify with them is a good method. Sure, not ALL obesity is caused by the habits they state, but what's the downside of preaching good habits?

      Please know that all these posts are made with a great respect for the work you do - it's just an issue that I may have to deal with in the future when I have kids, so I have some interest in it. Thanks for your replies!

    3. Have a peek at Megan's response (though guessing it probably made it to your inbox).

      Vilifying children for the sins of our environment's not the way to fix the problem.

      If Disney really wanted to help, they could start by taking a public stand against licensing their characters to sell junk food and teach kids about media awareness, truthful energy balance, cooking skills and the "bad habit" of weight stigmatization.

  18. I am eighteen years old and I have been obeise since I was little. I'm not sure I it's a health issue or what, but I eat healthy and I exercise. But yet I'm still overweight. So it's not from laziness or eating unhealthy food all the time. That's not always the cause. But being an overweight kid I know all about the bullying. I got made fun of all the time by other kids. I still get made fun of. And to have seen that just crushes me. I mean could yu imagine being ten years old and being overweight an seein that? I mean, if that was me I would be walking around like is this how people see me and is this what everyone thinks about me? I just can't believe someone would even think of making somethin like that. Maybe that should try Walkimg in someone else's shoes. I can't stand bein overweight or getting made fun of. I can't imagine what these kids are goin through. I'm an assume and it still bothers me.

  19. Anonymous5:18 pm

    Yeah, and being obese can't have a psychological aspect could it?? It's just I'd love to see these people do their homeworks sometime. Keep perpetuating the stereotype, guys.....

  20. TJ Gibson5:19 pm

    I've recently discouvered your blog and find it very interesting.
    However I disagree. I think someone has to take the initiative and not worry so much about the "feelings" of the kids. Everyone on here who is disgusted is probably the parent of an overweight child. They are the ones responsible for the health/weight/activity level of their children. If a campaign like this will open their eyes, then I support it.

    1. Anonymous5:32 pm

      Agree. Couple these health initiatives with parents knowing how to provide support to their child (and how to educate their kids not to belittle others) and there shouldn't be an issue of demoralization.

      Given that some part of obesity could be psychological, what's the harm in advocating for healthy habits anyways? They surely can't hurt..

    2. Anonymous10:41 pm

      Wow. Maybe it would help you to have some idea of what the feelings of fat kids are before you decide they aren't worth worrying about. I'll share some of mine below, but first I must point out that it is possible to teach about healthy nutrition and exercise without referring to size at all. We can teach kids to eat well and exercise for their own sake. It isn't necessary to make fun of or villify fat people, many of whom do not actually live that differently from their thinner friends. Check out some of the latest science. Google "Health at Every Size." Check out this article, which backs up what I have known to be true for years. Losing weight is not as simple as thin people think it should be.

      Now for the feelings. I began to feel fat in the 6th grade when I hit puberty. By 7th grade I weighed 130 pounds and was 5'2" tall. I wore a 36 C cup bra. I took dance class and felt awkward and fat next to thinner girls who were less than 5 feet tall and didn't have their periods yet. I auditioned for a dance team at the school and was told I'd have to lose at least 20 pounds to be considered. Result? I quit dance - I couldn't stand to look in the mirror anymore.

      In college I weighed 150 pounds. I had been running 3 miles a day everyday without stopping on my own, so I joined the cross country team and ramped up to about 5 miles a day. I kept up with the thinner girls. One day we were doing sprints and the coach wanted me to pick up the speed. He shouted across the track, calling me by name - "Pick up the pace! Feel those pounds melting away!" Wow. I had stopped feeling like the fat girl until that moment. I had been embracing the idea that I could run and even be an athlete. The shame came back, and I quit the team.

      Later in grad school I developed bulimia. I'd been a member of Weight Watchers 3 different times and tried every kind of diet. I could not get below 150 pounds no matter what I did. I wore size 14. I was sure I didn't deserve love at that weight and every day when I stepped on the scale I wanted to die.

      My life is better now. I may be heavier than I was, but I know my worth as an individual. I claim my right not to be stereotyped! In spite of the fact that the general public sees people of my size as lazy, gluttonous, lacking in willpower, etc. In spite of the fact that people like me are ritually shamed on reality TV and commercials. In spite of the fact that people like me are never represented in popular culture except as the butt of jokes. In spite of a culture in which women's bodies are never okay just the way they are, in which a designer recently said Barbie dolls' ankles are too fat. In spite of a culture where people feel free to speculate about my psychological problems when they know nothing about me but my size. In spite of all these things I do the best I can to feel good about myself - despite the fact that my body resists all my attempts to change it.

      If you really think the problem is that there is not enough shaming, you have no idea what it is like to be a fat person. No fat person is going to be helped by Disney's campaign, and plenty of people who hate fat people are going to have their prejudices reinforced. Like those guys that rolled down their window to scream "Hey ugly fat chick" at me in grad school. They'll get the message that I deserve that kind of abuse, because I have the worst kind of habits. I'll go home and eat vegetables and tofu and they'll go on to their party with pizza and beer, feeling good about themselves for not being a worthless fatty like me. And the next time I think of taking a walk on a public street, maybe I'll stay home instead and become the pathetic creature they think I am. Or maybe I will get mad and stand up for myself instead.

    3. Anonymous11:30 pm

      Actually I am a parent disgusted by it and I am not the parent of an obese child, but instead a child with an eating disorder. I have a teenage boy who is so thin that he falls asleep in class, bruises very easily, and is seeing both a nutritionist and a counseler. He is now on ensure and who know what damage he has done to his still growing body. And it all stems from the bullying and teasing that happened in 5th and 6th grade when he gained some weight (which was completely normal as he was getting ready to shoot up).

      This exhibit reinforces the abuse of other individuals....that the kids deserve to be humilated and shunned. that really what we want our kids to behave. Have than meanness ingrained?

    4. Anonymous2:07 pm

      As the parent of a child with an eating story is similar. My daughter was teased for being fat,when her growing body gained weight before she reached her full height. (She ate well and was active in sports but appeared what I considered healthy and yet kids said she was fat.) She is over 5 ft 10 now and went through most of high school and college basically killing herself to be thin. When will people understand that people have different body types and different metabolism. It is a shame that Disney is doing this. Today she looks like a fashion model...tall and thin and she struggles with her eating disorder and watches everything she puts in her mouth. I wish our society would not make such a big deal about weight and appearances it is not helping these young people I assure you.

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  22. Thank you for this article, it is so important. The exhibit at Epcott is problematic in so many ways. Here is what I wrote to the Orlando Sentinel,

    "This exhibit, while I am sure has the best of intentions, misses the mark completely. Not all fat kids are fat because they are lazy and living on junk food. And not all thin kids are healthy, abstain from junk food, and engage in exercise. By targeting fat as the "wicked witch" and fat kids as the gang of evil thieves from Aladdin , the message of health for everyone is eclipsed. Many of the kids I work with are fat because of medication or other genetic/chromosomal conditions, and the children I work with who have anorexia or bulimia (eating disorders) look thin, thus pass for healthy, when they may,in fact, be using laxatives and throwing up after meals. This exhibit is shaming and ineffective. If Disney wants to help kids be healthier, how about making the rides at their theme parks more physically interactive and offering less junk food at the concession stands? Warmly, Dr. Deah Schwartz,

    1. Anonymous6:36 pm

      Did you go to the website and play the game? 'Fat kids' are not made out to be a 'gang of evil thieves'. ALL of the interaction in the online games promotes healthy habits. In your opinion, even if healthy habits won't make ALL kids less fat, gossipy, or unhygienic, aren't they still worth promoting to help those that DO suffer their conditions because of bad habits, and to generally instill good habits into kids even if they don't see immediate effects?

      Hopefully parents, who have kids that are affected by physical/psychological conditions that are NOT brought on by bad habits, can still relate to their kids that there may be more to managing their conditions, beyond good habits.. but when is hearing "eat fruits and vegetables", "bullying hurts other kids", or "eating too many sweets can be bad for your health" ever a bad thing?

      You say 'not all fat kids are fat because...". Okay, but are some? Perhaps you or Dr. Freedhoff could enlighten us with some stats about main causes of obesity? I'll advertise my lack of knowledge in the area right now, but I'd be shocked if poor eating/exercise habits were high up on the list for causes of obesity OVERALL..

      These are all complex issues that the game addresses, but why not let kids know that there are things they CAN do, even if it may not make everything perfect?

    2. As the CEO of a non-profit organization that deals with women and men suffering from eating disorders your opinion is...noted. But I have to wonder, I went to the website and I DID play the game. Now I must have made a wrong turn somewhere because NO WHERE did i see the game that helped warn parents or children about the dangers of media's portrayal of what an "ideal" woman is or how to avoid the eating disorders that affect over 8 million Americans. And as an overweight child who spent over one-third of my life trying to get the taunts and name calls out of my head by not putting anything into my stomach, I can assure you, this game IS a bad thing.

  23. Well, here's a news flash for y'all... if Disney just wanted to promote healthy habits, they wouldn't have to stigmatize or make fun of "obese" children. Guess what? Thin children can also eat crappy and be sedentary and obese children can sometimes eat healthy and be very active. This campaign is bullying, plain and simple. Now, they aren't just bullied by their peers but by adults too. Oh yeah. Way to go. Y'all feel better about yourselves now that you've put down someone else? Why not have a group of children, fat, thin, inbetween... all experiencing healthy habits? Wouldn't that make far more sense than to pick on a group of kids?

  24. Anonymous8:45 pm

    This just makes me sad. As if kids with weight issues don't have enough to deal with.

  25. Anonymous11:02 pm

    I did a write-up of this terrible addition to Epcot for my blog and - it really is needlessly mean spirited, aside from being really not entertaining.

    Here's my write up if you're interested:

  26. Anonymous12:45 am

    Come on Disney, you can do better than this! How about promoting healthier habits on Disney site to start with? Start with healthy food and fitness. May I suggest the "creative team" behind this campaign start with an effort to design a healthy lunch on site disney.
    After dining on a nutritious lunch, let's vision other possibilities that eliminate shame and humiliation from this "awareness campaign" :
    for example, we could review the Mediterranean Food Pyramid if we've lost site of healthy food groups, their healthy food members and letters of the food alphabet to focus on instead of counting calories and pounds or how about a "how to avoid "transfat" map around the disneyland park and see what transfats we could eliminate or avoid without subtracting out the fun.
    Next, let's clear our brain space for better visioning possibilities with a powerwalk around the Disney grounds (or perhaps a poweryoga session),then regather and regroup the master minds behind this campaign for another visioning and brainstorming session. This rough draft should have ended up on the cutting room floor.
    Inspiration towards change does not involve shame or "fatty stereotypes" in cartoon caricatures; motivation does not arise out of humiliating children out of bad habits encouraged by our consumeristic culture.
    What would Walt Disney say? is this what he had in mind for the "happiest place on earth?"

  27. I wonder what Walt Disney would say if he saw "The happiest place in the world" advocating negative stereotypes through the use of shameful, humiliating charcters to children? Shame on the creative team who thought it was a good idea to create a game for children that furthers the concept that fat is bad, and fat people are lazy lead bottoms! I inivite them to look at the research, become familiar with HAES, Health at Every Size, and become responsible advocates for heatlth, not promoters of fat phobia which is at the core in our culture, and can influence eating disordered behaviors in our children, adolescents, and adults.

  28. Anonymous12:47 pm

    This will just give the bullies new names to call overweight children. It's sad that a place like Disney (kids idolize) would do such a terrible thing. We have too many kids with eating disorders already. In my opinion, parents and medical staff will have to be very alert to spot the kids that will develop eating disorders as a result of this campaign.

  29. Anonymous7:24 pm

    I would like to comment as a mom and a therapist who specializes in working with kids who struggle with all types of eating issues. I have read through all of the comments posted and I think my main contribution would be this: obesity, like abortion, money, sex and a handful of other issues is by definition a polarizing issue. We fall on one side of the topic or the other. Either Disney is demonized or praised for their stand on this issue. If you read the comments, there are not many that are "in between" in their stance. What I think happens is we all react personally to this subject vs. objectively. We all can relate to this universal issue of "being fat". We usually are on one side or the other - we were "the fat kid" or we were not. We have a sensitivity to this or we do not. We have an anorexic daughter or we do not.
    It is the complexity of this issue that I would like to introduce to those on both sides of the fence. There are causal factors of obesity that are controllable and there are causal factors that are not. The parents can "cause" a child to be obese and some parents who feed the same junk food to their kid have a thin kid. The common thread that I see that needs to be addressed is the shame. We have become a shame based society. We lack empathy - profoundly. We are raising children who don't know anymore that calling a cartoon character "lead bottom" is even cruel. They just think it is funny. And funny sells. It sells movies, video games, and theme parks. I see the obesity failure in children as a part of the fabric of the general failure of parents creating an accepting, empathic environment where children are taught what is right and what is wrong. It is not that the children are lazy. It is that the children have not learned to care about themselves. They have not learned to listen to whether their tummies are full or not. They have not learned to think in a sophisticated way about the ads that are thrown at them every second. The children just do not have the skills anymore to survive in this harsh, cruel, impatient environment. Some kids handle this by having another hot dog. Some kids handle this by cutting. To me, it all points to the same issue - we can make Disney the villian or we can look at ourselves as parents and people and see what we can do differently. A shame based world can not be fought just by "standing up" to this with anger and self-righteousness. A shame based world can only be fought with empathy - starting with empathy for ourselves and our children.

    1. Anonymous6:23 am

      Well said! I totally agree!

    2. Anonymous10:04 am

      Well put.

      The only thing I'll throw in, though, is that Disney isn't really taking a stand on the obesity issue with this attraction.

      The focus is encouraging positive health habits. That's it. Obesity is not the target whatsoever. It is nowhere stated or implied that overweight individuals are in that situation because of bad health habits or choices -- obesity is completely outside the scope of this particular attraction. I think that is what's being missed amidst all this criticism.

      Such criticism is certainly based in the best of intentioned but is misplaced due to the fact that it is in reaction to incomplete information. This really is all just one huge misunderstanding.

    3. Habit Heroes was most assuredly geared specifically as their answer to childhood obesity.

      Don't believe me?

      Read the original Blue Cross (the exhibit's partner) press release.

      (If you don't feel like clicking, here's the quote they lead with in introducing the concept, "We recognize that childhood obesity is one of the most serious and fastest growing health risks children face today")

  30. Jan F.9:46 pm

    A fundamental issue here is... did the complainants make an effort to open a civil dialog with The Walt Disney Company before going on the attack? If not, their behavior is the antithesis of what they request from Disney. Respect for each other is imperative and fundamental, so I hope the complainants showed the respect they hope to receive.

    Another fundamental issue... did the complainants study Habit Heroes in depth before forming an opinion? And did everyone who's responding to the complainants study Habit Heroes in depth? Everyone seems to be unaware that over-eating is only one of many bad habits addressed. It's clear to me that Disney is making an effort to promote happier, healthier ways to live... and who doesn't want that??? I do! I want that for myself, my grandchildren, all my friends, family and the entire planet. We ALL need encouragement and reminders to do the right thing. Thank you, Disney, for the intelligent, creative manner in which you're reminding those of us who care to make better lives for ourselves. If that isn't a priority for someone, all they have to do is bypass Habit Heroes.

    This venue promotes health and happiness by defeating ALL bad habits. Never does it suggest a specific size that's ideal where weight is concerned. It's all about taking responsibility for ourselves in every way. It's true... we all feel better when we're a reasonable weight, when we don't smoke, when we don''t watch too much TV, when we exercise.

    Are the parents who worry about their overweight children's response to Habit Heroes overweight themselves? Take this opportunity to discuss health with your children and become their guides and examples to better living. Choosing better habits, whether it's not smoking or doing drugs, exercising more, adequate sleep, low self esteem, too much TV, etc., enhances quality of life. Thank you Disney for offering an optional experience for those of us who wish to encourage change for the better.

    And finally, to me, Lead Bottom certainly doesn't resemble a child! He's an unrealistic character designed to make a point in encouraging change.

    Once again, I beg everyone to study Habit Heroes and Disney's intent before rushing to uneducated judgements and assumptions.

    1. Anonymous8:51 am

      The problem is that Disney makes the Glutton and Lead Bottom fat - they aren't just villains, they are fat villains. If they want to promote healthy habits, they need to recognize that lazy, overeaters come in all shapes and sizes. Not all fat people are sitting on their butts eating bad food and not all thin people are making healthy choices and exercising (in fact, very few are) so implying that is hurtful and harmful. Fat stereotyping is rampant in our country. It's like Disney setting up an exhibit on forwarding your education and making all the high school dropouts and drug dealers black. That would be completely unacceptable and a gross prejudice. But its ok to generalize about overweight people?

    2. Anonymous9:56 am

      Sweet Tooth represents poor eating habits as well and has a very nice figure.

      Control Freak, another one of the Bad Habits that represents watching too much TV, is a thin boy.

      Habit Heroes doesn't focus on anti-obesity -- Disney does not promote messages that are negative in nature. Obesity isn't even mentioned at all, nor is it anywhere implied that all individuals who are overweight are such because of bad habits. Instead, the attraction presents a positive and energetic message promoting general well being through the benefits of good habits. That's it.

      Something very good is being attacked here because people are coming to rash judgments based on incomplete information. Such is not to point the finger of blame at anyone, as in the light of such a misunderstanding outrage is absolutely understandable, but rather to say that people really ought to take the time to hear from both sides on this before jumping to conclusions.

    3. Anonymous11:09 pm

      I agree. It will be years before another corporation tries to do the right thing and encourage people to live better lives. Only someone looking to promote their own skewed view would find dramatically exaggerated cartoon characters relate to overweight children. This whole "outcry" campaign is designed to promote quackery and keep kids on the road to desease and shorter, unhappy lives. Congratulations.

  31. Anonymous3:36 am

    I will neither victimize not villianize weight. Why is everyone so worried about how the media is teaching our kids to be....maybe we could take time to teach our own children that media is just, trying to sell something, its all about money. I will teach my children not to listen to the media of our the crazy world, because its a constant battle they will never win. You have to be thinner, eat this, wear that, listen to this....its all a gimmic...its children will know they are loved even if they are different. we really should be promoting self acceptance. as long as you love yourself and treat your body right no matter what your weight is you will be happy. We cannot please everyone, no matter if you are fat skinny tall short black white red yellow, the media will find some way to tell you you are not good enough....whatever it be if you are happy with yourself nothing on this earth will matter, its all just crap anyway. Our real treasure is in heaven so why get caught up in this silliness.

  32. I think Disney is very mis-directed on this, disappointing especially since a big-name health care provider is involved. Here is where I've listed who I think the real Habit Heroes are:

    Take a look and share who you think your habit heroes are.

  33. This just in! Thank you so much for your part in letting people know about this exhibit!

  34. I grew up loving Disney with all my heart. I also grew up a fat kid picked on by so many others prejudiced by ignorance like this. In those dark times i turned to Disney movies and book for comfort. The irony is overwhelming, as is my disgust for the morons who put the idea for this "attraction" together. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

  35. Casey8:04 pm

    My suggestion is they rename the villains so there's no confusion about who they mean: Nicotina = RJ Reynolds, Cereal Killer = Kellogg's, Snacker = PepsiCo

  36. Let's talk about bad habits. Being judgmental, characterizing those you do not know based on their looks, being so self indulgent and narcissistic that you lose empathy for those that belong to your fellow human race again based solely on looks. YOU CANNOT JUDGEvA PERSONS HEALTH Based on the look of them,frankly you cannot do it at all unless you are a health professional, even their abilities are not without question. We are more than just a shell. If people chose to treat others with dignity, understanding, and respect, there would be far less problems in this world, it is sad to me that this will never be achieved unless everyone wears a blindfold. Sight is a wonderful sense, but so is sound, Start listening. people, you may just learn something from all of those that you scorn. I really love Disney World, it is one of my favorite places... So sorry to see that it hopped on this bandwagon.

  37. Anonymous9:22 am

    Speaking as someone who is quite familiar with the attraction (please note, however, that I am not authorized to speak on the behalf of Walt Disney World or Anthem Blue Cross)...

    While the reaction that I am seeing here is certainly valid and rooted in good intentions, I fear that it is also based in an honest misunderstanding of what Habit Heroes is actually about.

    Habit Heroes is not aimed at addressing obesity. If it were, the criticisms that are being made would be absolutely valid. In the light of that unfortunate and unintentional mischaracterization, it is easy to see it as something very wrong. Even the best actions can appear insidious when the intent behind them is misunderstood.

    The focus of Habit Heroes is to address the bad and unhealthy habits that infect everyone's lives -- nothing more and nothing less. Participants at the attraction are fighting the "bad habits" to save a kid who is a slave of sorts to them -- that kid is not obese. While two of the Bad Habits at the attraction are certainly overweight (Snacker and Leadbottom), the other two (Control Freak and Sweet Tooth) are decidedly not. The Bad Habits are not "villains" in the real sense of the word -- they are symbolic of tendencies that lie within all of us. Yes, Snacker, Leadbottom, and Glutton (in the online extension) are overweight -- that is an unfortunate side effect of the habits they represent. One ought to keep in mind, however, that the target is not obesity itself but rather raising health awareness in general. It is no where said or even implied that obesity solely results from the activities outlined above or that you can judge a person's health by their outward appearance. For all intents and purposes, obesity is outside the scope of the attraction.

    Yes, you fight "Leadbottom" through the use of "positive peer pressure." It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he's overweight, nor are participants even trying to make him lose weight. "Leadbottom" represents that tendency towards inertia that we all sometimes have when our backsides are planted firmly on the couch. Yes, he looks like an intimidating large overweight masked wrestler -- a mountain of a man, so to speak -- would you make an "immovable object" someone skinny and short? The "peer pressure" has nothing to do with his body shape or weight and everything to do with just getting the guy to be active (which, incidentally, involves being active yourself... and that is precisely the point since Leadbottom represents something inside all of us).

    So yes, if you approach the attraction under the belief that it focuses on obesity, it is indeed highly offensive. It is easy to see how that impression might be reached and perhaps fine-tuning is needed to clarify that such is not the lesson trying to be taught. When understood in its proper light, however, Habit Heroes is an interactive learning experience that teaches kids of all shapes and sizes important basic lessons regarding general well being. They are good lessons and they are taught in an effective manner.

    I only ask that those reading try to understand the real purpose behind the attraction (which is not even officially open yet and has been undergoing a high degree of fine tuning over the past few weeks) before casting criticism. I am certain that recommendations as to how future such misunderstandings might be avoided would be greatly appreciated by both Disney and Anthem Blue Cross.

    1. 1) Intention does not trump effect.
      2) The effect people have been discussing in this thread is actual harm, not mere offensiveness.

    2. Anonymous6:13 pm

      Hi Anonymous,
      I'm working on a national TV show and I'm exploring the different views of this topic.

      Can you email me at

  38. Anonymous3:09 am

    Hey, if it works - I'm all for it! Political correctness is out the window when our children's health is concerned. A heart attack hurts more than hurt feelings - and you can take that to the bank!

  39. Anonymous5:14 am

    They should have a ride that has pictures of organs of people who smoke. During the ride, you enter a room full of cigarette smoke. At this point, the ride stops for ten minutes. During that time you get to "enjoy" the wonders of second hand smoke. After the ride is over, you can't go back to the hotel and change your clothes. Then you can find a place to eat where everything they serve at Disney is healthy. Funnel cake anyone?

  40. Wow! So amazing how words like 'discrimination' and 'unfair' and 'poor judgement' and 'disgusted' get thrown around so quickly these days! It's the beauty, or ugliness, of the internet - we all have a voice if we want! And true to human nature; the second a group feels discriminated against they raise their voices the loudest and in accordance with political correctness we all fall in line and hold back our opinions!! Companies make apologies and we go back to living in a robotic world! We go back to watching our words and hoping our thoughts don't escape our brains for fear of being lashed out against. We go back to reading and hearing about the "epidemic" of obesity and type-II diabetes and we woner to ourselves how this problem is getting out of control. Then we remind ourselves that we can't say anything out of fear of being accused of discrimination. At the very least...accused of hurting someone's feelings.

    Whew...when did America become such a flock of sensitive babies?

    Here's the facts - fat children and fat adults are that way for a reason. If it's medical; take action, see a doctor and get help. If you are addicted to food; get help! Many medical groups and hospitals offer very affordable or even free dietary counseling. If you can't get help, then at the very least - get active and try to balance out your poor eating habits. If it's because you can't afford healthy food; eat less of what you do eat during every meal. Look for deals, find some coupons and make an effort. GET ACTIVE!! It's doesn't cost a dime to walk. Walking can turn to jogging. If you have the means - get to a gym.

    If you are not willing to make an effort...then you simply do not care. You are also lazy. It takes effort!

    If you are not doing these things then you are contributing to a serious obesity problem in America and you need to change. You need to stop making excuses, crying about your feelings and blaming everyone else. You need to take that effort you just put in complaining about this Disney attraction and put it into making different choices! If you have raised obese children then shame on you! If you are worried about your fat child being ridiculed...DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! It's not fair to children who have lazy parents that pass down poor choices. And children do not deserve to be bullied and made fun of for being fat. That's whay it's crucial to make changes and make efforts. It's not easy.

    So who wants to debate? Who wants to tell me I'm insensitive? Or tell me I don't understand and can't possibly know what it's like. That's a good out right? It's easy for someone who is backed into a corner to say; "well you just don't know me and my situation!" I would argue that those of you who make choices do not know me. You do not know what it's like to make good choices. You do not know what it's like to eat healthy on a daily basis. To buy fresh fruits and vegetables every 3 or 4 days. You have no idea how hard it is to get on that treadmill after a stressful day of screaming kids. You can't possilby know that feeling of accomplishment after kicking butt in a hard workout.

    We can do this all day! The bottom-line is that people and companies are trying to get creative in teaching kids about the consequences of obesity. Andy everytime someone thinks outside of the box - a fat peson gets offended and cries foul! I'm sick of it. I'm sick of seeing people getting fatter and lazier. I'm disgusted at how parents make poor choices for their children and make them fat. It's unfair that I pay the same health insurance premium as a coworker that is lazy and eaths poorly and smokes.

    If you think I'm bitter and I hurt your be it. Grow up, take accountability for yourself and stop crying.

    1. Anonymous7:52 am

      You have to understand that obesity is not a black and white issue but shades of gray. I am in high school with kids who struggle with weight and they eat more healthy products than me and I'm skinny. It's probably easier for you to blame and not understand and that iself is a problem. You wont hurt my feelings but you might hurt a child that's doing the right things to prevent it and their weight still won't drop.

    2. Anonymous4:35 pm

      The issue is not about "whether" kids and their parents should be encouraged to adopt healthy habits; the issue is "how" to do so most effectively. The vast majority of kids are physically inactive (compared to prior generations) and making poor food choices; so it's not just overweight children who need to be encouraged to change behavior. Shaming people (kids or parents) into changing behavior is inferior to using positive reinforcement (e.g., praise and recognition) of desired behavior.

  41. I'm wondering; why does there seem to be a certain problem only seen in America? A problem in which people say they eat healhty and exercise, yet are still fat. How does that happen? I mean, the obesity problem is primarily in American and pretty much occurred during the last 20 - 30 years. I can't believe this is genetic condition. The perception of a genetic condition might be a nice excuse, but it's not reality. I'd buy it more if it happened worldwide.

    If you eat right, exercise and still get fat you might have a medical condition. If you've been checked out and nothing is wrong - then you are not eating good enough or working out hard enough. That simple!

    Plus, let's not let a few anecdotal examples stray us from the fact that a majority of fat people are so because they eat poorly and do not exercise. No arguing that....

  42. Anonymous1:17 pm

    your an idiot...shame on you for trying to downplay what disney was trying to pull off in the first place. the childhood obesity rate in this country is what is disgusting. all these lazy parents shoveling cheeseburgers and pizza down their kids fat little faces and not caring at all. Disneys trying to help, and all you and the majority on "this" site here should be the ones ashamed. Not to mention the wussies who get their feelings hurt by the truth. its the wussification of america....stop pigging out and go play out side
    greensboro nc

  43. Anonymous1:21 pm

    Our society is soft and pathetic. And we will continue to uphold the image of fat American slobs in the eyes of the world because we sensor everything. Why is it ok to attack drug addicts and smokers but not obese people. They have a problem just like the crack addicts and chain smokers and will die from their filthy habits just the same. Why not scare the kids a little and stop sheltering them from reality. There are 100,000's of kids with cancer watching their class mates kill themselves with junk food. At least Disney is attempting to make a change. And don't you think that a kid might walk out of Epcot after visiting the exhibit and possibly not turn to mommy and daddy ask them for that hotdog and soda???? Trust me disney thought about that and decided it was for the "greater good" so calm down and get used to this sort of thing because this is not the fist time a fat kid is going to be slapped in the face by iconic figures when it comes to the topic of obesity.

    1. Which attractions at Disney World attack drug addicts and smokers?

    2. Anonymous11:57 pm

      There isn't one because we have anti drug commercials and Nicorette gum and billions of dollars in media that kids see everyday. In fact they probably see it when they are sitting inside watching tv and scarffing down their cheeseburger

  44. Anonymous1:45 pm

    This so-called doctor of the mind needs to get a life not hating things that represent great American Icons. This lefist piece of knuck *uck should be buried alive in the socialist "utopia" of his homeland.

  45. Anonymous2:09 pm

    Quick question Doctor, how much money do you make treating obesity through bariatric procedures? Perhaps you would like a new character to be introduced to the attraction. Maybe kids can pretend to be a surgeon who happily shrinks peoples stomachs so that they can't cram as many Twinkies down their gullets?

    1. Anonymous4:39 pm

      Great point! This article is quite self-serving.

  46. Anonymous2:22 pm

    Well lets go back to having all African Americans be criminals or drug dealers or uneducated in all movies, cause surely all african american are this way Huh?

  47. You people absolutely amaze me. Yeah, its great for kids to sit on their fat asses and keep gaining weight. Kids should be shamed into feeling bad if they are fat. Its becasue they eat crap and too much of it. Is it all their faults? No. Many of them have parents to share the blame as well, but most are fat because the do not exercise and eat too much of the wrong foods. These people are probably the same people who think every kid should get a trophy and no one should be cut from the team.

  48. Anonymous4:37 pm

    I am shocked at this article and at the responses on this board. Simply shocked.

    Disney is not "shaming" obese children. They were trying to tactfully show that *some* of the enemies of a healthy lifesytle are unhealthy foods and lack of exercise. Is anyone actually disputing that??

    Dr. Yoni you write this article like you've never actually seen the exhibit. If you're reviewing this solely based on what the Orlando Sentinal says, that's a big journalistic problem. If you haven't seen it yourself, you have ZERO credibility.

    Have you ever spoken to or heard of even one child who was "fat-shamed" by this attraction? I admittedly only scanned the above posts, but I didn't notice any in here. having actually been to this attraction, it seemed very well received by children of all sizes.

    Finally, please don't think for a moment that your or even the Sentinal's protests had anything to do with this attraction closing. Disney does not close or change an attraction based on a handful of e-protesters, and certainly not overnight. More likely this shutdown has been in the works for a couple weeks. Your article getting on MSN's front page is more a function of MSN's owner being the same parent company as Disney's main competitor in Orlando, Universal.

  49. Anonymous7:15 pm

    Disney, which sells a great deal of non-healthy food at its parks and makes its money providing TV and movie entertainment to the sedentary, is hypocritical at best to be sponsoring such an exhibit. Instead, why not clean up the food at the parks and create attractions around moving one's body rather than riding on a ride?

    1. GREAT IDEA!!! Now that's a statement!

    2. Anonymous10:42 pm

      You're flat out wrong. This is an exhibit about improving your habits, and supporting each other. They even went so far as to say turn off the tv and exercise. Do you not see that as brave for a media company? They really want to make a positive difference in the lives of their customers. Along with all the healthy and tasty food they offer( and it's great every year at the food festival) they really went out on a limb and said LESS tv would be good for you. We love Disney and can't wait for this to open again.

    3. Anonymous10:45 pm

      By the way, have you been to Epcot? You walk a whole lot there between rides.

  50. Davis9:25 am

    This country is founded on freedoms and rights. People have the right to be offended by anything and other people can be offended by people taking offense (as many on this post are). Is obesity a problem...probably. Is it a personal problem...deffinately. People should care for themselves and their family. Other's don't need to do it. I am upset about this exhibit, not because it is insensitive, but because it is assuming people are idiots who don't know that by being active and eating healthy creates better health (on average). This is not a public service, this is not a message from a doctor, it is an exhibit in a theme park. Disney does not care about their customers health one bit! If they did they would not offer fatty, rich, greasy foods at every stop. They would not cave if they believed in the message. Disney is about making money (I am sure they made a profit with BCBS).
    When the paying customers are angry or offended and the revenue looks to dry up they pull it.

    One post asked about a civil discussion with disney over this. WHY? We are their customers! If we don't like it we complain...or do you have a civil discourse about a hair in your food at a resturaunt?

    When i am on vacation, I want to do the things that i don't normally do and that includes indulging in sweet, greasy, fattening foods. I don't want to be lectured about my habits and life. Especially, by someone I am paying to entertain me!

    As to those who feel it is "unfair" to pay the same insurance rates as a "fat person", i am not a woman but i pay the same rates as someone pregnant, or taking birth control, or that has breast that fair? If you don't like the rates you are paying...find another company or shut up YOUR whinning. People are not stupid...let them have the freedom to live how they want...chips and donughts are not illeagal. Let them raise their children the way they want. you are not their parents or their nanny!

    For the record, my family ia two year old son goes for fruit or vegetable before for going for candy or cake...WHEN THEY ARE OFFERED AT THE SAME TIME!

    one last thought. how many of you who are decrying the lack of excercise spent hours on you electronic devices today saying people should excercise more?

    1. Wow!

      Let's otherwise perfectly healthy woman can be tragically diagnosed with breast cancer for no reason of her doing. Or, a fat person who expresses their "freedom" and how "not stupid" they are by living a life eating copious amounts of "chips and donughts" (notice I put your spelling in the quote) predictably gets diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or type II diabetes because of his doing. Hmmmm...yea marginalizing breast cancer to something that's the fault of being a woman in the same context that having type II diabetes is mostly a fault of being fat is, perhaps, the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I wonder how many women would appreciate being told that they should pay the same high insurance premiums and rates as obese people because they have breasts?

      Awesome... and completely scary because it's folks like you that will never allow for performance-based health insurance. You know; the same way life insurance underwriters can take blood to test for diseases and nicotine! Wonder why that happens? Oh yes - it's because life insurance companies are not in the business of giving $500,000 policies to folks who have high cholesterol or smoke because they die earlier than folks who don't!!!!

      True freedom is having a choice to pay for insurance that is based on my lifestyle! Get it?

  51. Fantastic blog entry. I wrote one myself and sited you and this blog (hope that's ok!):

    Thanks for all the great work you do for this community!

  52. Jackie1:23 am

    I heard about this, but I didn't realize how bad it was. It's a shame, I thought Snacker was a really cute fat fairy. Maybe they'll be able to bring her back in another role.

  53. Anonymous7:33 am

    What worries me is this: I have been to Disney World, and I have seen most of the people that spend a lot of time there. Are kids going to go through this exhibit, then come out and think they are surrounded by bad guys?

    Little Timmy: "Look, Mommy! It's Lead Bottom!"
    Mom: "No, honey, that's just a nice man with his family."

  54. Everytime I think things can't get worse in this country,they do.
    It sounds like Disney had good intentions, with encouraging good habits, but once again caved to the morality thought police.
    Maybe the lousy parents, who allow the obesity problem, should be addressed. It's not always society's fault.
    An"association for obesity acceptance"...seriously ?

  55. I don't understand why is a theme park's job to teach our kids anything....That is the parents job. It is a place to go have fun and relax as a family, not a learning experience! And we go there every year and had no problem with the food there. There was fruit, water, milk, turkey and low fat snacks available everywhere....If you don't want fried food or what you consider "unhealthy" food, don't eat it! I enjoyed the variety of items offered. My Grandkids loves the big pickles as a snack. Sometimes they ate "unhealthy" chicken nuggets, but sometimes had salmon or fruit instead. Teach your kids to try new foods and limit junk food at home...It's a vacation for pete's sake...Stop blaming everyone from Theme Parks to fast food resturants if you have a weight problem!I tend to eat too many chips, LOL, but it MY PROBLEM not anyone elses. I am not blaming the company that makes them... :)

  56. Thanks for your interesting report and also I appreciated the follow-up that the exhibit was shut down. I was at Downtown Disney in Orlando a few years ago looking for something healthy to eat, and had virtually no luck. They obviously aren't putting too much thought towards these types of sensitive issues. Anyway, please update us if you find out what the new exhibit is like!

  57. Anonymous5:56 pm

    Disney should not be vilified for making what is a national epidemic "CHILDHOOD OBESITY" a point of focus. Quite frankly, instead of screaming "DISCRIMINATION," why don't parents try PARENTING? Just an idea. I've raised two children, both within healthy weight ranges. Why? PHYSICAL ACTIVITY and GOOD EATING HABITS. Americans seem to have a collective idea that the media, corporations, and the government are completely responsible for your health and well-being. Did we forget about "FREE WILL?" Just as addiction to alcohol or nicotine is a disease of choice, so is, often times, being fat. Yes, it's hard work to lose weight. Yes, it takes commitment and diligence to parent and show your child the importance of making good life choices. But I'd rather you as parents make the effort now, instead of burdening my pocketbook with the health ramifications in the future. Do your fellow citizens a big favor: DROP THE BIG MAC.

  58. Anonymous2:49 pm

    Why doesn't this theme park say no to bullying huh?!SHAME ON YOU! I watch Disney and go to Disneyland to be entertained not criticised for how I look and weigh! I can make friends by being myself thank you very much, Overweight people are not lazy! We have systems that causes these things to happen, Thyroid, Arthritis, and Diabetes[Skinny people have this too]! Its not our fault that theme parks like Disney and Universal have junk food. Get rid of the crap and put healthy stuff in their instead! We walk 9 hours of a day and pay you 200 dollars per person to get in the park anyway thats how you make your money!!! Even the LGBT community has a hard time with this also, So why doesnt this company shut up already?!

  59. Forget about Disneyworld! What about the disney shows that kids watch every day?!
    Kids and teens are coming home from school with letters telling them that they are at risk because they are overweight..."fat letters" ( on news last night) and when they tune into their favorite disney channel show there's a kid more overweight than they are, eating junk food...jokes and one liners flying.
    What a terrible double standard!
    Parents need to take a stand and demand that the character's on these shows have their weight issues addressed also (as well as the actors playing them)
    I'm sure disney thinks they are being fair and correct by representing
    overweight kid as in their shows, but in light of these letters going
    home with their viewing audience,maybe they should rethink that