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Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Message to Disney and BCBS; It’s NOT OK to Stigmatize Overweight Children

UPDATE: Disney has closed the attraction, as of 2/25/12, “until further notice.” Disney’s “Habit Heroes” website now says, “DOWN FOR MAINTENANCE”.  Today, Disney reached out to BEDA CEO Chevese Turner…said the exhibit closing is “temporary”. Seems they are seeking feedback from organizations that contacted Disney, in protest. Looks like the attraction will be reworked, with our feedback, we hope!  The outcry was loud!  We used our voices and we were heard!  This is a victory, for EVERY BODY!

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I’m trying to imagine myself as the overweight teenager I was, happy to be on a trip to Disney World and Epcot Center. Then, suddenly, I feel blindsided and shamed.

I’m standing in front of an exhibit about teens with bad habits (with names like “Lead Bottom” and “The Glutton”) vs. “Habit Heroes (“Will Power” and “Callie Stenics”).  So, if I’m an overweight teen, it’s assumed I am piggying out, “a glutton” , and the world has judged me innactice and worthy of ridicule?  Should I see myself  as unattractive and misshapen as “Lead Bottom”?

Shocked, Disillusioned, Dismayed, Disheartened, Disappointed, Saddened, Distressed, Disgusted, Heartbroken…It’s Horrifying, Offensive, Stigmatizing, Horrific, Will Promote Bullying of Overweight Kids…

These are just a few of the words my colleagues and I are using to describe our reaction to a joint Disney Corporation and Blue Cross Blue Shield Epcot Exhibit and Online Program called “Habit Heroes”.

BEDA; The Binge Eating Disorder Association (I serve as President this year), in conjunction with ANAD, has just released this Call to Action. Please read on, and if you are concerned, as we are, please choose to take one or more suggested actions. PLEASE!

*Photos included are from the Disney Website

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BEDA & ANAD

 CALL TO ACTION

 

Join BEDA and ANAD
to inform the Disney Corporation
that it is NOT okay to promote
weight stigmatization
through its harmful “Habit Heros”campaign

 

Disney Launches New On-line Program

and EPCOT Exhibit Stigmatizing Children & Adults-of-Size

 

Disney's Lead Bottom with Habit Heroes

 

 

This morning BEDA was made aware of a disturbing exhibit at Disney EPCOT and its on-line program (Habit Heros) that frankly, is horrifying. The program was developed with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. More information is provided in the full article, including a reference to the program’s superheros “Will Power” and “Callie Stenics,” from the Orlando Sentinel.
 
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 brocolli (good guys) shooting hotdogs (bad guys), perhaps some brocolli should be offered along with millions of hotdogs sold in the parks yearly. See the fast-food company affiliations of many of Disney’s board-of-directors

Read comments from a blog written by a family doctor specializing in weight management. Its difficult to fathom any professional who has dealt with individuals who are trying to make sense of their issues around weight and/or an eating disorder to see the benefit in this type of programming. This physician obviously sees the harm in weight stigma.
 
Read an article about a study on weightism showing it as more wide-spread than racism.

What Can You Do?


 
Let you voice be heard! Make phone calls, write letters, begin an on-line petition, or contribute your picture to I Stand Against Weight Bullying. See Disney contact information below.
 
We are providing links, phone numbers, and addresses for your convenience. Please also read Disney’s Harrassment & Discrimination Policies below:
 

 The following is directly from Disney’s Harrassment & Discrimination Policies

 
The Walt Disney Company’s policy prohibits employees from harassing any other employee, guest or other person in the course of the company’s business for any reason prohibited by law, including, but not limited to, race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, covered veteran status, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, or any other basis prohibited by state or federal law.

 
• Email friends. If you have a blog, blog about this

• 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

 

 
Contact Information for Disney:

• Call Epcot Center: 407-824-2222 and register a complaint about Innovations at Epcot and specifically the Habit Heros Exhibit
• Call Disney Corporate Headquarters: 407-354-2754
• Write to:

 

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
 

Let Disney know in your communications that you are concerned about the stereotypes and weight stigmatization that this exhibit and online game promotes. Explain how it might make you feel to see this blatant discrimination that would never be tolerated around age, race, gender, or sexual orientation.
 
This is an opportunity to be heard! 

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BEDA; the Binge Eating Disorder Association, is the national organization focused on increasing prevention, diagnosis and treatment of BED and associated weight stigma. Through outreach, education and resources, BEDA is committed to facilitating awareness, excellence in care, and recovery for those who live with and those who treat binge eating disorder and its associated conditions.

 

Our Values

BEDA provides a community dedicated to helping those with BED and associated weight stigma through the following:

  1. Understanding and Hope
  2. Evidence-based research
  3. Clinically accepted practices
  4. Resources for individuals and families
  5. Educational opportunities for treatment professionals
  6. Advocacy
  7. Cooperation with and empowerment of individuals and organizations to enhance effectiveness
  8. Commitment to equitable treatment and elimination of discrimination in all its forms at all organizational levels and throughout all programs.
  9. Commitment to excellence and to maintaining the membership and public trust
  10. Transparency, integrity and honesty

Our Vision

To create a community where individuals, families, and treatment providers have access to resources to help them, their loved ones, or their clients overcome BED and live healthy, productive lives free from an eating disorder and weight stigma.

  

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Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, ellen@aweighout.com

Trackbacks

  1. […]  This article from an organization named A Weigh Out caught my attention this week thanks to my Google Alerts at work. Apparently, Disney rolled out a new experience called Habit Heroes. They have characters and a theme park attraction that focuses on eliminating less healthy things and replacing them with better-for-you alternatives. Sounds good, right? […]

  2. […] Disney’s Habit Heroes Exhibit which launched early in 2012 and was promptly shut down due to a loud outcry over […]

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