ORLANDO, Florida -- Walt Disney World says it is changing an exhibit on childhood obesity after critics said it was insensitive and reinforced stereotypes.
The interactive Habit Heroes exhibit was closed shortly after its unofficial opening in February, the Orlando Sentinel reported Thursday. The official opening has been postponed indefinitely.
The Epcot exhibit in Florida features animated fitness superheros Will Power and Callie Stenics and villains including super-sized Snacker and Lead Bottom, who eat junk food and watch too much television.
Critics say the exhibit reinforces stereotypes that obese children are lazy and have poor eating habits. Doctors say obesity can sometimes be attributed to genetics and certain medications.
"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 said in a statement.
"I was really disturbed to see the most negative habits were attached to really fat bodies," Peggy Howell, a spokeswoman for the group, said after viewing a companion website. "These pictures further the stigma against people of higher body weight."
"That’s why we have a soft opening. So we can open it up to others and listen. We’ve heard the feedback," Disney spokeswoman Kathleen Prihoda said.