Food and Nutrition

Outrage Over Doll That Refuses to Eat, Like a Real Baby

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There is outrage over a new doll that sometimes refuses to eat and turns its head away, just as normal babies often do.

However, some critics are claiming that the plastic "Nenuco Won’t Eat" doll will somehow cause young children to develop eating disorders.

The doll debuted at the London Toy Fair yesterday and has gone on sale in Europe, notes the Daily Mail.

The doll, which sells for about $60, has a magnet in her spoon that causes her head to turn away when a child tries to feed her.

A child has to perfectly line up the spoon with the doll's mouth to get it to "eat."

"This doll sends the wrong message to children and encourages them to think that refusing food is normal behavior," Chris Leaman, of the mental health organization YoungMinds, told the Daily Mail.

However, it is "normal behavior" for a baby to sometimes turn away from food or refuse to eat, notes BabyCenter.com and FamilyDoctor.org.

"I wouldn’t want such a toy on the shelves," stated Anita Worcester, of the Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association, told The Sun. "Promoting what is basically an anorexic doll seems unhealthy."

But the piece of plastic, which is shaped like a doll, is not super thin like a person suffering from anorexia.

The UK marketing director of the doll's manufacturing company Famosa, Nikki Jeffery, told the Daily Mail that babies actually do refuse food in real life: "The doll is designed to re-enact the play between a parent and a child. The idea is that the child understands that the doll is being mischievous and that the child encourages the doll to eat the food, just as a parent does with their child."

"We believe the doll will teach children the value of eating healthily as it is eating fruit and vegetables," added Jeffery. "I am absolutely not concerned about it promoting eating disorders. Famosa know the doll industry and this has sold all over Europe. We are 100 percent about real life experiences and it's just about having a bit of fun and playing."

Sources: The Sun, Daily Mail, BabyCenter.com, FamilyDoctor.org.

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