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Obesity activitist encouraged by 'plus-size' push for Disney princesses

A regional obesity activist is elated by a recent campaign by a U.S. teen girl’s to get Disney to create a “plus-size” princess.

Paul Murphy, founder of Obesity Thunder Bay (www.obesitythunderbay.ning.com), applauded the efforts of Jewel Moore, a high school junior from Farmville, Va., who last week started a petition stating that since Disney has such a big influence on young girls, the mega-company should create a princess with a curvy body to “show support to a group of girls who are otherwise horrendously bullied by the media.”

On change.org, Moore wrote that she created the petition “because I’m a plus-size young woman, and I know many plus-size girls and women who struggle with confidence and need a positive plus-size character in the media.”

Moore’s petition, which has amassed more than 22,000 signatures since late last week, bears the title, “Every body is beautiful.”

“I really think that it opens up further dialogue,” said Murphy, noting someone from Denmark made a video about Moore’s campaign and this also is attracting views like wildfire.

“It opens the door. It’s such an exciting time,” he added.

“Last week I just couldn’t have crafted a better week with regard to people talking about the complex issue of community health.

“This Jewel Moore, her efforts, are just the icing on the cake,” noted Murphy. “This is a young girl who is standing up for other young girls against the media messages they’re receiving.”

Moore’s petition can be found online.

Murphy has campaign relentlessly over the past five years to get Northwestern Ontario talking about community health and obesity, and has made some headway in a world which more and more is talking about healthy eating and body acceptance.

In addition to participating in various community discussions in the Thunder Bay area, Murphy attended a conference in Vancouver last May and will be participating online in a health conference at the University of Guelph in the near future.

He also remains very active online at www.obesitythunderbay.ca, which offers links to videos and articles, as well as online discussions via Twitter and Facebook.

Meanwhile, countries such as Mexico are implementing a soda tax to urge people to drink healthy beverages while states and cities such as Massachusetts and San Francisco are exploring the issue of candy taxes.

At the same time, shocking statistics about teen suicide, such as the Toronto District School Board being aware of about 700 suicide attempts made by students in the last school year, is putting the spotlight on issues of depression, bullying, and self-image.

All of this ties into Obesity Thunder Bay’s mandate to effect social change through advocacy, research, education, and the elimination of unhealthy environments.

Murphy stressed he and other Obesity Thunder Bay members aren’t about promoting weight loss, but rather a conversation about body image, healthy communities, and healthy individuals.

“We need to promote dignity and acceptance,” he remarked.

“We have to talk about inclusion.”

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