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Disney Obesity Exhibit Causes Outrage

Disney Obesity Exhibit Causes Outrage

A new Walt Disney World exhibit has been shut down just a month after opening due to complaints that the exhibit enforces stereotypes of obesity.

Habit Heroes, which has dedicated new characters to the war on obesity, has been shut down after complaints suggesting that the exhibit reinforces the common stereotype that obese children are lazy and have poor eating habits.

"We're appalled to learn that Disney, a traditional hallmark of childhood happiness and joy, has fallen under the shadow of negativity and discrimination," the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance stated to The Associated Press.

The exhibit, which opened up in Epcot at the beginning of February, featured animated fitness superheroes Will Power and Callie Stenics. The two health heroes were paired against super-sized villains like Snacker and Lead Bottom, characters who were guilty of eating junk food and watching too much television.

The project was a joint venture in collaboration with Blue Cross and Blue Shield. John W. Herbkersman, a spokesman for the company, explained their good intention.

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"Our goal is to ensure that the attraction conveys a positive message about healthy lifestyles in a fun and empowering way," Herbkersman said. "To work on further improving and refining the experience, the attraction is closed for the time being. We look forward to officially opening it soon."

Disney spokeswoman Kathleen Prihoda also explained that the initial opening of the attraction was not official, and meant to derive feedback.

"That's why we have a soft opening. So we can open it up to others and listen. We've heard the feedback," Prihoda said.

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The feedback isn't good.

"I was really disturbed to see the most negative habits were attached to really fat bodies," Peggy Howell, a spokeswoman for the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance said. "These pictures further the stigma against people of higher body weight."

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