We’re interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to bring you a special alert.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist as Dr.Deah’s blog The Not So Wonderful World of Disney reminded me so much of my childhood watching Disney’s show on television, enthralled by stories and images that made a child’s heart sing.
They’re not doing too well these days with that for kids who find themselves in the new Epcot exhibit on childhood obesity. Or who happen to stumble upon Disney’s related online program Habit Heroes that calls out bad guys such as a fat fairy named Snacker and the gangster named Glutton.
Developed in collaboration with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the program intends to promote health. But like so many people and organizations (such as Strong4Life, producers of the now infamous fat-kid-shaming billboards in Georgia) that do not understand the issue of childhood obesity (naming one of the major characters Will Power is strong proof of that), it ends up shaming larger kids instead. And it can make smaller kids start worrying about weight, and set up future weight struggles for both.
To say nothing of the hypocrisy involved in some of the advice. This from the Binge Eating Disorder Association,
Disney is capitalizing on the “War on Obesity” to shame kids and then offer them every type of fast-food available in their parks. We do not believe food should be demonized, and if the program is going to show broccoli (good guys) shooting hotdogs (bad guys), perhaps some broccoli should be offered along with millions of hotdogs sold in the parks yearly.
BEDA issued a call to action yesterday that we’re jumping on board with. And hope you do, too.
- Blog, blog, blog
- Post this call to action on Facebook and Twitter
- Reach out to professional organizations and others to ask them to join with us
- Reach out to reporters and news organizations you may have contacts within
- Call Epcot Center: 407-824-2222 and register a complaint about Innovations at Epcot and specifically the Habit Heroes Exhibit
- Call Disney Corporate Headquarters: 407-354-2754
- Write Disney Corporate Headquarters:
Attention: Kristin Nolt Wingard
Senior VP of Public Affair
1375 Buena Vista Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
- Email Disney’s Communications Dept: TWDC.Corp.Communications@disney.com
Finally, I want to share this example of an excellent letter written by Barbara Altman Bruno, PhD, LCSW, a leader in the Health at Every Size® movement.
Imagine a world where children of all sizes are accepted and valued. Apparently not at Epcot.
Depression, despair, bullying, disordered eating, and other unhealthy practices will be increased for children of all sizes who view Epcot’s Habit Heroes exhibit–thanks to you, Florida Blue, and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Elephants, giraffes, chihuahuas: are any of these animals bad because of their natural sizes? What did the elephant do wrong? What did the giraffe do right?
We don’t have much, if any, control over our body size. We do not know how to make fatter people of all ages thinner, except temporarily. So stop picking on fatter people!
At all sizes, however, we can aim to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; nurture our bodies, and enjoy activity. Especially in a world where we are all accepted and valued, at all sizes. I recommend that you explore principles and practices of Health at Every Size®. And I strongly suggest that you remove Habit Heroes caricatures while you rethink the purpose and consequences of the exhibit.
Barbara Altman Bruno, Ph.D., LCSW
Signing off to go write my letter but first encouraging you to do so, too. Your effort will help kids of all sizes better care for their bodies and live happier, more fulfilled lives as a result.