‘Anorexic’ doll provokes outrage: ‘Deeply worrying’ toy which shuns food should be banned, say campaigners
- 'Nenuco Won't Eat' has a magnet in her spoon which makes her head turn away when a child tries to feed her – it will go on sale in the UK in February
- Eating disorder campaigners say it could encourage and normalise eating disorders in very young children and that selling it is setting a bad example
- The toy company Famosa says the doll just 'represents real life play'
Said all babies reject their food and it is not worried about link to anorexia
A new doll which turns its head away when offered food has provoked outrage, with critics saying it could encourage young children to develop eating disorders.
Mental health campaigners are calling for the ‘Nenuco Won’t Eat’ doll to be banned on the basis it is ‘unhealthy’.
They are concerned that the toy could encourage or normalise eating disorders in young children and say it is 'deeply worrying'.
Eating disorder charities are calling for a doll – called 'Nenuco Won't Eat' – which turns its head away when offered food to be banned. They are worried it could normalise eating disorders
She turns her head away repeatedly until the spoon is correctly aligned with her mouth at which point she eats the food.
The child and adolescent mental health charity YoungMinds has condemned the doll, saying it 'promotes unhealthy attitudes towards food'.
Chris Leaman, Policy Manager at YoungMinds, told MailOnline: 'This doll sends the wrong message to children and encourages them to think that refusing food is normal behaviour.'
We would not want children to be influenced by this, and are concerned that it promotes unhealthy attitudes towards food and body image.
The 'Nenuco Won't Eat' doll has a magnet in her spoon which means her head turns away when a child tries to feed her. Campaigners say the sale of the doll is 'deeply worrying'
A spokesperson for the eating disorder charity B-eat said: 'Research shows young children are becoming aware of body image at a much earlier age. A doll that refuses food is hardly a good example to them'
'We urge the manufacturers to think more responsibly and be aware of the fact that children are incredibly receptive and that negative attitudes to food can be easily formed and take many years to break.'
He added: 'Our campaign YoungMinds Vs revealed earlier this week that four out of 10 children and young people have skipped meals to stay thin.'
Anita Worcester, from the Somerset and Wessex Eating Disorders Association, told The Sun: ‘I wouldn’t want such a toy on the shelves. Promoting what is basically an anorexic doll seems unhealthy.’
A spokesperson for the eating disorder charity B-eat added: ‘Research shows young children are becoming aware of body image at a much earlier age. A doll that refuses food is hardly a good example to them.’
But the UK marketing director for Famosa, Nikki Jeffery, said the aim of the toy was simply to represent real life.
The toy company, Famosa, says the toy just represents play in real life as babies often reject their food
She based this argument on the fact babies often reject their food.
She told MailOnline: '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.
'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 per cent about real life experiences and it's just about having a bit of fun and playing.'
The doll, produced by Spanish firm Famosa, was unveiled at the London Toy Fair yesterday.
It is already for sale across Europe and will be on the shelves of major retailers in the UK from early February.
The baby girl, which will be sold for £34.99, has a magnet in her spoon which causes her head to turn away when a child tries to feed her.