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Spain's 'anorexic' doll causes outrage in UK

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Spain's 'anorexic' doll causes outrage in UK
Photo: Famosa
10:45 CET+01:00
Eating disorder campaigners in the UK have labelled a Spanish-made doll that refuses food "deeply disturbing", saying it could encourage anorexia among young children. But the doll's makers told The Local they believe the issue has been blown out of proportion.

Spanish toy company Famosa is facing a barrage of criticism from British health experts over the UK launch of their doll Nenuco Won’t Eat (Nenuco No Me Come).

The toy, designed to turn its head away when food is spoon fed to it, has been slammed by critics who claim it encourages children to develop eating disorders such as anorexia.

"Anything which encourages young children to think not eating is normal is deeply worrying," Siobhan Freegard, of parenting site Netmums, told the UK’s Daily Mail.

Anita Worcester, of eating disorder charity SWEDA, also told the British tabloid: "Promoting what is basically an anorexic doll seems unhealthy."

But longstanding Spanish toy company Famosa seem taken aback by the degree of controversy surrounding the food-shunning doll.

"It's been blown out of proportion," Idoya Revuelta, spokesperson for Famosa, told The Local.

"Children know perfectly well that the Nenuco Won't Eat doll is misbehaving when it refuses to eat. They learn to help and stimulate the baby so that it does finally eat its food," Famosa added in a press communiqué.

Nenuco Won't Eat comes with magnetic feeding spoon that, when turned round and pressed against the doll’s mouth, triggers a switch that makes the baby eat its food.

Available in UK toy stores from next Monday on, Nenuco Won't Eat is already sold across Europe.

The doll, which retails for £34.99 (€42)  was actually chosen as one of the "best new toys" in an international toy fair currently being held in London. 

Conservative Spanish daily ABC made the news recently after they promoted the online sale of "Little Jesus of my life", a cuddly toy which teaches and records children's prayers.

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