ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - March 1, 2012 -
Walt Disney World says it is retooling an Epcot exhibit targeting childhood obesity after critics complained that it stigmatized fat kids.
The interactive Habit Heroes attraction was closed shortly after its unofficial opening. The official March 5 opening date has been postponed indefinitely.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield partnered with Disney to create the exhibit, which takes visitors through a series of interactive experiences to fight bad habits such as too much television and junk food. Spokespeople for Disney and the health insurer say the soft opening of the exhibit was meant to collect feedback.
The National Association of Fat Acceptance accused Disney and Blue Cross of using "the tool of shame" to communicate with children.
See the statement from the National Association of Fat Acceptance below:
NAAFA is appalled to learn that Disney, a traditional hallmark of childhood happiness and joy, has fallen under the shadow of negativity and discrimination. It appears that Disney now believes that using the tool of shame, favored so much by today's healthcare corporations, is the best way to communicate with children.
Disney, in partnering with Blue Cross/Blue Shield to create the new Epcot attraction and on-line game, Habit Heroes: http://www.habitheroes.com/bad-habits-gallery, has taken the side of the bullies. The attraction and game feature negative stereotypical characters such as "The Glutton, Overeating and eating too fast"; "Snacker, Too much fatty, processed food"; "Lead Bottom, Not enough exercise"; "Stinkbomb, Bad hygiene"; "The Fungus, Eating rotten or expired food"; "Stress Case, Stressing Out"; "The Prescriptor, Ignoring doctor's advice" and "Cereal Killer, No time for breakfast". The use of these stereotypes, traditionally used to torment overweight kids, will potentially reinforce and strengthen a cycle of bullying, depression, dis-ease, eating disorders and even suicidal thoughts.