AED Applauds Closing of Disney’s Habit Heroes at Epcot Innoventions
As a global professional association committed to leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment and prevention, the Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) applauds Disney’s decision to close the Habit Heroes exhibit at Epcot Innoventions. The decision occurred following vigorous, worldwide protest from healthcare professionals that rightly drew attention to the adverse impacts of exposure to weight-based stereotypes and body shaming, which could be seen as potential unintended consequences of attending the exhibit.
Whereas the AED assumes Disney's exhibit was well-intentioned, some of its content unfortunately promotes weight-based stigma and misinformation. In particular, the exhibit's undue focus on weight and the illustration of “good guys” as thin and active and “bad guys” as fat and lazy supports negative stereotyping and perpetuation of an erroneous societal belief that health is solely determined by size.
We urge Disney to ensure that future exhibits intended to promote
health reflect all the benefits of rigorous empirical research and
clinical experience in rendering their messages clinically informed,
culturally sensitive, safe, and effective. The AED
guidelines for childhood obesity programs offer guidance and
recommendations on this topic.