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    Habit Heroes Closed (Epcot)

    I wasn't going to start a thread about this because I was worried about the flames that might ensue with the discussion, but we're all bigger than that aren't we? Oops, maybe with THIS story, we need to be smaller than that!!! LOL!

    Mark reported on this week's WDW Update about the Habit Heroes exhibition being closed. After reading the report and the accompanying information, I quite agree that it was for the best. Good idea to promote good eating habits; bad idea to shame those that struggle.

    Now today, I see that it is splashed all over Yahoo news. Here's the link to that story: Link

    What do you think? Is it fat shaming? I suppose this thread can go into the Lounge as well, but as it is news regarding Epcot, I thought we can at least start here. Does it fit with the image/message that Future World promotes?

    Working hard for that next WDW trip!

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinaMouse View Post
    I wasn't going to start a thread about this because I was worried about the flames that might ensue with the discussion, but we're all bigger than that aren't we? Oops, maybe with THIS story, we need to be smaller than that!!! LOL!

    Mark reported on this week's WDW Update about the Habit Heroes exhibition being closed. After reading the report and the accompanying information, I quite agree that it was for the best. Good idea to promote good eating habits; bad idea to shame those that struggle.

    Now today, I see that it is splashed all over Yahoo news. Here's the link to that story: Link

    What do you think? Is it fat shaming? I suppose this thread can go into the Lounge as well, but as it is news regarding Epcot, I thought we can at least start here. Does it fit with the image/message that Future World promotes?
    Personally, I think it was a good idea by Disney to close it, but not because of the the content...because of the state of America. I think this whole thing reflect poorly on America that Disney is forced to close something because it portrays obesity as being a bad thing. Now, if it specifically said that ALL children (or just people in general) that are overweight at lazy, then okay, maybe it was a bad idea. But I haven't seen anything that shows that Disney did that. And I've never even seen anything saying that a significant portion of overweight individuals are due to medications or genetics.

    Myself, I am obese. I have no shame admitting it. But it's also my fault. I eat a lot and exercise none. When I was in college, I started working out every day. Sure, it was tough working out and eating healthier, but I did it. And I started losing weight. I dropped 25 pounds my senior year. But, when I graduated, I stopped exercising, I stopped eating healthy (my new job has a tasty selection at the cafeteria), and my new job has me sitting all day instead of walking around four eight hours like my old one. It's my fault that I'm overweight. Not genetics, not medicine, mine. As tough as it is for me, I can lose the weight if I try. I'm just lazy. I want to change, but it's difficult. Does that mean that I should just accept being overweight and accept the health risks and say that all's okay? No. And I think that's what the NAAFA (or whatever it is) is trying to say. THAT I disagree with.

    I agree that Disney shouldn't make it out that everyone whose overweight is simply because they're lazy. There's research that shows otherwise. But, NAAFA sitting back and basically saying being overweight is perfectly alright is completely wrong as well. Obesity is harmful to your health and is costing this nation billions. In 2006, 10% of all healthcare in the US was for complications due to obesity (according to an ABC News report in 2009). That's $147 BILLION that was spent due to obesity.

    Now, did NAAFA go after Nick for their television campaign years ago to get kids to go outside and play? Not that I ever heard. Are they going after Michelle Obama's things with Disney, Nick and in general about eating healthier and getting outside more? Not that I've heard of.

    Just a sad sign of the times of the move toward acceptance of obesity as a non-problem, along with other issues. And this is coming from someone who's 5'11", 260 pounds.

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    And of course the next thread down is about the Disney free dining offer!

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    Granted, have not seen the attraction or the videos that are floating around the web about it. But at first, Im thinking this may be a case of good intention - bad presentation. Now, I reserve the right to change my stance after I read and view more about it, but I would like to think that those who created it wanted it to be a positive message even for those, kids and adults alike, who are dealing with weight issues. (Yep, Im a big (yet shrinking) guy myself.) I mean - Disney would not purposely would put out an attraction that would knowingly hurt someones feelings. That would be a hugely poor move.

    Maybe they ought to bring back the characters from Food Rocks!

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    I think the intention was good. What's not to like about teaching kids to be healthier and chose better snacks and exercise? I think the problem was the way the villains were portrayed. However, if you eat like crap and don't exercise, what do you think will happen to your body? I don't condone kids being made to feel evil or bad for being overweight or heavy at all, I don't think that was the intention at all. Certainly I hope they can re-work it in a better way.

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  7. #6

    Ill admit that I havent seen the attraction or videos, so its possible that my comments are based on a misunderstanding of what the attraction is. My initial response was that this was political correctness gone overboard. But then I read a little bit more about the attraction and saw illustrations and names of the characters, and think that closing the attraction was probably a good move. Im not saying the topic is off limits, but it could/should have been handled more delicately.

    I agree that it is not OK to say that obesity is not a problem. But its also not OK to make people feel badly about themselves because they are overweight or obese. Besides just not being nice, I doubt it is an effective method for getting people to change their ways. It is especially not OK when many in the audience are overweight children, on vacation in Disney World. Most of these children are already bullied and ostracized because of their weight. They are already self-conscious. Imagine what a kick in the teeth it would be to be all happy, on your dream vacation, and be presented with the lumpy, unattractive villains in this attraction. Children are not stupid and will understand that they are being portrayed as unattractive and bad.

    The truth of the matter is that most kids do not have control over their weight in the same way that adults do. If they are obese, it is because of genetics and/or bad habits that are learned from, or even encouraged by, the adults in their lives. Children are not driving to the grocery store or planning meals. If they are lazy it is because their parents allow them to sit in front of the TV and computer for hours on end. They have not been taught about the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. Its all well and good to talk about how obese adults are self-aware and know why they are obese and what they need to do to change. It is absurd to extend that argument to children. Children need knowledge, encouragement, and support, not shaming.

    Imagine how much more empowering and motivating it would have been for children if the overweight characters had been portrayed as taking control of their lives and transforming into Habit Heroes, rather than villains deserving demeaning names and to be shot at with vegetables.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mxrapu View Post
    They have not been taught about the importance of a healthy diet and exercise. It’s all well and good to talk about how obese adults are self-aware and know why they are obese and what they need to do to change. It is absurd to extend that argument to children. Children need knowledge, encouragement, and support, not shaming.
    Isn't that the point of it, though? To teach them the importance of a healthy diet and exercise if their parents won't? Besides, just knowing the importance of a healthy diet and exercise isn't enough. I myself know that, but has it made me start shedding weight again? No. I still eat unhealthy every day and don't exercise. And yet every time I don't eat healthy and every night I don't exercise, I tell myself I need to. I've already proven to myself in the past that if I do put my mind to it, I can lose weight. So it's not a genetic or medicinal thing. It's just laziness and no "will power" (pun intended). When I was younger, my parents did everything they could to get me to lose weight (short of taking away anything electronic, taking me out back and forcing me to run by whipping me). They had me in baseball, which I loved. They had me play tennis, which I loved. My best friend back then came over and swam every day. They limited the amount of time I was allowed to play on the computer to just an hour or two. They planned healthy meals and dished mine out, never giving me seconds. But you know what, it didn't help. Why? My school served pizza and fries every day. I'd sneak snacks without my parents ever noticing. And eventually, I just lost all interest in going outside. They could take me to baseball, and I'd just sit there not wanting to play. They'd take me to tennis and I'd just sit there, not wanting to play. It wasn't my parents' fault. They got me outside, but they couldn't force me to play. Just because a kid is overweight doesn't mean it's the parents' fault. It could be genetics, could be medicine, but more importantly, it could be friends, parents of friends or even their school that drives them to it.

    I myself haven't seen the photos or videos, but from what it sounds like, the villains are actually kids? If that's true, then it's indeed bad presentation. I think a more appropriate method would be having two overweight kids sitting on the couch or what not with the villains encouraging them to continue their bad habits, and having the heroes show up and convince the kids to turn on the villains and the overweight kids themselves start fighting the villains, eventually turning into heroes themselves (as someone else has said).

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    From an article in the Orlando Sentinel:

    Added Disney spokeswoman Kathleen Prihoda: "That's why we have a soft opening. So we can open it up to others and listen. We've heard the feedback."
    I guess one of the biggest complaints was that the unhealthy habits were linked to obese characters who were tagged as (for example), "lazy" villains. They're retooling so that unhealthy can also be moderately sized characters as well.

    The designers, she says, are on the right track with Sweet Tooth, a moderately sized character who represents anyone who has a penchant for sweets.
    I agree that it was good intentions gone awry.

    Here's the link to the full story:ORLANDO SENTINEL STORY

    I'll watch for updates!
    Working hard for that next WDW trip!

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