If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know that overeating is not only inevitable, it’s downright encouraged. A ship that targets kids is even worse. My options for lunch were chicken tenders, fries, mac n cheese, pizza, burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, pasta, and the list goes on. This was all placed across from the tiniest salad bar I’ve ever seen — an option of browning romaine or wilted spinach and a few veggies still defrosting. I understand that it’s difficult to get fresh fruits and vegetables on a cruise ship, but considering this ship ports every few days, I feel Disney could do better.
More important than my vegetable options are those of the children on the ship. All day long I saw overweight and obese children walking past, one hand holding a bowl of fries and the other an ice cream cone. Disney had opportunity — families are on this ship for a week, attending Disney restaurants, workshops, kids clubs, and seminars. I did not see a single class, event, activity, workshop, or anything about healthy eating or active living. Many of these families wouldn’t have any access or awareness of nutrition education if not on the ship — this was their chance.
So, I’ll conclude with this:
Please find it in your hearts to take advantage of your Disney magic, brand, power, and influence to help make the world a healthier place. I see the small steps you’re taking — the healthy option on kid’s menus, the apple slices for sale at Disneyland — but let’s go BIG. You have more opportunity than any other company to solve, or at least lighten the load of, childhood obesity, giving children longer lives to tell their grandkids about the magic of Disney, more energy to run around your parks playing, and improved confidence to find the princess or prince charming in themselves.
And hey, if you need a dietitian to help you, my door is wide open. Let’s get to work.
Lisa Mouse, MPH, RD
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