Disney’s attempt at childhood obesity awareness met with harsh criticism

While some advertisements approach combatting child obesity in a constructive manner, others take it a step too far and end up doing more harm than good. The new Epcot Disney exhibit aimed at tackling obesity was recently forced to shut down after receiving negative feedback and criticism for stigmatizing overweight kids.

Snacker, Lead Bottom and The Glutton are the stars of the Habit Hero exhibit. Photo courtesy of curvygirlguide.com

The exhibit, called Habit Heroes, led visitors through a series of interactive experiences that fight bad habits, including too much junk food and television. Disney partnered with Blue Cross and Blue Shield to create the exhibit with the thought that children would improve their health and therefore lower health-care costs. But many felt the ad reinforced negative obesity stereotyping, promoted bullying and demonized fat kids, according to CNN contributor Lisa Suennen.  The exhibit was set to open March 5, but the date has been postponed in order to re-design the exhibit.

Yoni Freedhoff, publisher of the well-known blog Weighty Matters, was especially infuriated by the exhibit. He argued that the exhibit implies that all obese kids are gluttonous, lazy and lie around and eat junk food all day. Overweight kids are tormented enough at school; why should it continue when they go on vacation?

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