Panaceia or Hygeia

immunize yourself against the pandemic of lifestyle diseases

Horrifying Habit Heroes

Posted by Colin Rose on February 26, 2012

Has anyone ever objected to exposing kids to the evil doings of villains like The Joker, Lex LuthorCatwomen and Darth Vader who kill and maim thousands and demolish whole cities or planets? Very few. But just suggest that the lifestyle habits of kids could be improved by creating examples of a healthy lifestyle, like the Habit Heroes of Disney World, and their evil enemies, like Lead Bottom or The Glutton, and the self appointed protectors of the delicate juvenile mind, cultural relativists, and “experts” in obesity are scandalized. Were there any complaints from the children themselves or their parents?

Gazette-HabitHeroes-screen

“It’s so dumbfounding it’s unreal,” says Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa. “I just can’t believe somebody out there thought it was a good idea to pick up where the school bullies left off and shame kids on their vacation.” Freedhoff  thinks it’s terrible that “society does believe (weight control) is about willpower and calisthenics.” So what does he thinks causes obesity? Bad genes? Toxic chemicals? Lack of bariatric surgery? Sorry Yoni, it’s called the First Law of Thermodynamics. Energy can’t be destroyed. It has to go somewhere. Whatever calories one eats has to go into work or fat storage. As the creators of Habit Heroes and anyone else who knows a little science realizes, eating too many calories mostly due to junk food addiction is the cause of obesity. The sooner children learn this fundamental law of physics and its consequences, the better. If obese children and their obese parents are offended by a law of physics, we have no sympathy.

“Rebecca Scritchfield, an adjunct professor at George Washington University, said she was “disgusted” by the exhibit’s implication that weight is indicative of health, writing: “I would love to know what sickos thought this up.” It seems Dr Scritchfield hasn’t read the literature proving that obesity reduces life expectancy and contributes to a large number of chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis.

Is educating children that a law of physics mandates that they shouldn’t be eating junk food and not moving more traumatic than them imagining Darth Vader destroying a planet? Are the many obese among them being “bullied” and “shamed?” Should they never be told that obesity will shorten their lives? Is it soul-destroying or empowering to suggest that people have to take some responsibility for their actions?

Not surprisingly the exhibit lasted only 3 weeks before it was shut down and the web site was “down for maintenance.”

We very much doubt that this exhibit will ever re-open. Anything that they say that even hints that obese children or adult have the freedom to make choices that affect their health can be interpreted as “shaming” or “bullying”. Cultural relativism denies the existence of free will in any domain and demands that all problems of identifiable groups be blamed on “social injustice” ; no one should ever be blamed for the consequences of their actions.

What really puzzles us is that the directors of Disney World should take this altruistic decision to promote healthy habits, knowing that some of their clients, parents and children, might be offended by the implication that their habits need changing and possibly cutting into the junk food sales in the park. Maybe they have seen some of our photos of the massive obesity of many visitors to Disney World and decided they had to do something to counteract this image. Of course, they should have included the parents in their message.

Disney World

 

2 Responses to “Horrifying Habit Heroes”

  1. Did you bother to even look at the means with which they were trying to teach kids those truths, and if you have, can you try to imagine how you might have felt as an obese 8 year old watching Lead Bottom dance, or fighting The Glutton?

    http://www.weightymatters.ca/2012/02/disneys-horrifying-new-interactive.html

    If shame worked, the world would be skinny.

    Regardless of our disagreement there, I somehow would have thought that even folks like yourself who think shame is helpful would be opposed to its use on children.

    Guess I was mistaken.

    Yoni Freedhoff

    • Colin Rose said

      Where did I ever say that anyone should be “shamed”? Fortunately or unfortunately, obesity is an obvious manifestation of an addiction, in this case to junk food. Alcohol and other drug addictions are not so obvious on casual observation. Most of our medical and social problems are caused by addictions of various sorts. Children generally acquire these addictions by learning them from their parents or acquaintances. Someone has to educate them about the consequences of addictions and that everyone has the power to control them. Certainly doctors are not doing the job. They hate dealing with addicts. Treatment of addiction can be very time consuming, is poorly paid and doesn`t produce adoring patients. It`s much more satisfying for doctors to hand out pills or perform bariatric surgery for the consequences of junk food addiction than to deal with the addiction itself. So it is left to the likes of Michele Obama, Jamie Oliver or Disney World to attempt to deal with the real problem. More power to them.

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