Disney has teamed up with Blue Cross Blue Shield for a new interactive exhibit at Epcot Center. Unfortunately it is bullying overweight individuals by trying to entertain them. This is not ok! The heroes in "Habit Heroes" are both thin and athletic while the bad guys are all well rounded. A child can have their picture taken and emailed home. Why is it that people just don't get the implications of something like this? Trying to shame people into losing weight doesn't work. People can be healthy at any size.
The National Institute for Health has issued a statement that says,
"programs that shame kids carry a great risk of increasing stigma for those children who are overweight or obese which, in turn, can reinforce unhealthy behaviors (e.g., overeating). A number of research studies over the last decade have supported this concern. For example, studies suggest that overweight children who are teased about their appearance are more likely to binge eat or use unhealthy weight-control practices, and weight-based victimization has been correlated with lower levels of physical activity. Not surprisingly, stigmatization of obese individuals, particularly adolescents, poses risks to their psychological health.Other studies show that the perception that obesity is solely a matter of personal responsibility, as opposed to understanding the complexity of contributing factors, can increase negative stereotypes of overweight people. It is important, therefore, that public messages about obesity address this complexity whenever possible."